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Cellulose fibers (//) 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.
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