CHARACTERIZATION OF FLAX FIBRES MODIFIED BY ALKALINE, ENZYME, AND STEAM-HEAT TREATMENTS

Yongjian Cao, Felisa Chan, Ying-Hei Chui, Huining Xiao

Abstract


Flax fibres are being considered as an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic fibres in fibre-reinforced polymer composites due to their low density, biodegradability, and high mechanical strength. Previous work has found that the surface properties of natural fibres can be modified by chemical treatment and other treatment methods. This study focused on the effect of different treatments using alkaline, enzyme, and steam-heat, respectively, on some surface characteristics of flax fibre, e.g. physical, chemical, and thermal stability. Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), treated fibres were observed to have smoother surfaces than untreated fibres. Chemical composition of fibres was found to be modified after treatment as characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The crystallinity index and thermal stability of flax fibres were increased after certain treatments as determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), respectively. The wettability of treated fibre by water was improved compared to the untreated sample.

Keywords


Flax fibres; Surface treatments; Analysis; Properties

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