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Cellulose fiber

Cellulose fibers (/ˈsɛl.jəˌlsˈf.bər/) are fibers made with ether or esters of cellulose, which can be obtained from the bark, wood or leaves of plants, or from a plant-based material. Besides cellulose, these fibers are compound of hemicellulose and lignin, and different percentages of these components are responsible for different mechanical properties observed.

The main applications of cellulose fibers are in textile industry, as chemical filter, and fiber-reinforcement composite, due to their similar properties to engineered fibers, being another option for biocomposites and polymer composites.

Cellulose fibers market has been witnessing strong growth over the past few years on account of increasing demand from textile industry. Growing environmental friendly, skin friendly and bio-degradable fabrics demand is the key factor, expected to drive the market by 2020.

Cellulose was discovered in 1838 by the French chemist Anselme Payen, who isolated it from plant matter and determined its chemical formula. Cellulose was used to produce the first successful thermoplastic polymer, celluloid, by Hyatt Manufacturing Company in 1870. Production of rayon ("artificial silk") from cellulose began in the 1890s and cellophane was invented in 1912. In 1893, Arthur D. Little of Boston, invented yet another cellulosic product, acetate, and developed it as a film. The first commercial textile uses for acetate in fiber form were developed by the Celanese Company in 1924. Hermann Staudinger determined the polymer structure of cellulose in 1920. The compound was first chemically synthesized (without the use of any biologically derived enzymes) in 1992, by Kobayashi and Shoda.

Type of fiber Cellulose (%) Lignin(%) Hemicellulose (%) Pectin (%) Ash (%)
Bast fiber Fiber flax 71 2.2 18.6 – 20.6 2.3
Seed flax 43–47 21–23 24–26 5
Kenaf 31–57 15–19 21.5–23 2–5
Jute 45–71.5 12–26 13.6–21 0.2 0.5–2
Hemp 57–77 3.7–13 14–22.4 0.9 0.8
Ramie 68.6–91 0.6–0.7 5–16.7 1.9
Core fiber Kenaf 37–49 15–21 18–24 2–4
Jute 41–48 21–24 18–22 0.8
Leaf fiber Abaca 56–63 7–9 15–17 3
Sisal 47–78 7–11 10–24 10 0.6–1
Henequen 77.6 13.1 4–8
Fiber Density (g/cm³) Elongation (%) Tensile strength (MPa) Young’s modulus (GPa)
Cotton 1.5–1.6 3.0–10.0 287–597 5.5–12.6
Jute 1.3–1.46 1.5–1.8 393–800 10–30
Flax 1.4–1.5 1.2–3.2 345–1500 27.6–80
Hemp 1.48 1.6 550–900 70
Ramie 1.5 2.0–3.8 220–938 44–128
Sisal 1.33–1.5 2.0–14 400–700 9.0–38.0
Coir 1.2 15.0–30.0 175–220 4.0–6.0
Softwood kraft 1.5 1000 40.0
E–glass 2.5 2.5–3.0 2000–3500 70.0
S–glass 2.5 2.8 4570 86.0
Aramid 1.4 3.3–3.7 3000–3150 63.0–67.0
Carbon 1.4 1.4–1.8 4000 230.0–240.0
Matrix Fiber
Epoxy Abaca, Bamboo, Jute
Natural Rubber Coir, Sisal
Nitrile Rubber Jute
Phenol-formaldehyde Jute
Polyethylene Kenaf, pineapple, Sisal, Wood fiber
Polypropylene Flax, Jute, Kenaf, Sunhemp, Wheat Straw, Wood fiber
Polystyrene Wood
Polyurethane Wood
Polyvinyl chloride Wood
Polyester Banana, Jute, Pinneapple, Sunhemp
Styrene-butadiene Jute
Rubber Oil palm

  • Dimensions: The relationship between length and diameter of the fibers is a determining factor in the transfer of efforts to matrix. Another interesting point is the irregular cross section of plant fibers as well as their appearance fibrillated, which exert a positive influence on the anchoring of the fibers with the fragile matrix.
  • Void volume and water absorption: Because of the large volume percentage of permeable voids, the absorption is very high within the first moments of immersion. As a direct consequence, comes interference negative in relation water - binder matrix, swelling and subsequent shrinkage of the fiber. Furthermore, the high void volume contributes to reduced weight, increased acoustic absorption and low thermal conductivity the obtained components.
  • Tensile strength: Similar, on average, the polypropylene’s fibers.
  • Elastic Modulus: Cellulosic fibers are classified as low modulus determining factor for its use in building components working in post-cracked stage, with high energy absorption and resistance to dynamic forces.
  • Bridging gaps in the filter septum and small mechanical leaks in the gaskets and leaf seats
  • Improving the stability of the filter-aid cake to make it more resistant to pressure bumps and interruptions
  • Creating a more uniform precoat with no cracks for more effective filtration surface area
  • Improving cake release and reducing cleaning requirements
  • Preventing fine particulate bleed-through
  • Precoating easily and rapidly and reducing soluble contamination


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