Effect of chemical treatments on physico-chemical properties of fibres from banana fruit and bunch stems
Fibres have been extracted from fruit and bunch stems of banana plant by water retting and evaluated in terms of their performance characteristics. Banana bunch stem fibres have been found to be superior in terms of fineness, initial modulus and breaking strength, whereas elongation ratio shows an inverse trend. Thus, they have been further treated by bleaching and alkalization. Among the treated fibres, the bleached fibres show the highest initial modulus, breaking tenacity, and the lowest elongation. Alkalization results in increased breaking elongation and decreased initial modulus, whiteness and water absorption. The bunch stem fibres present higher water absorptive capacity and lower whiteness compared to that of fruit stem fibres.
The characteristics of these unconventional fibres have been found to be comparable to natural fibres traditionally used in textiles. The ranges for properties of the studied banana fruit and bunch stem fibres in general can be given as: linear density 12.71-20.38 tex, initial moduli 168 -326 cN/tex, breaking tenacity 9.89-13.3 cN/tex, breaking elongation 4.42-16.4%, and moisture content 11.6-15.8%.
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