Effects of Alkali Treatment on the Microstructure, Composition, and Properties of the Raffia textilis Fiber

Raymond Gentil Elenga, Philippe Djemia, David Tingaud, Thierry Chauveau, Jean Goma Maniongui, Guy François Dirras

Abstract


The Raffia textilis fiber has a specific strength of 660 MPacm3/g and scales and hollows on its surface. Thus, this fiber is a potential composite reinforcement. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of alkaline treatment at room temperature on its microstructure, structure, composition, thermal behavior, mechanical properties, and color. To this end, slack raw fibers were soaked in three NaOH solutions (2.5%, 5%, and 10% by weight) for 12 hours. SEM observations revealed that fibers got more and more clean and smooth when the solution concentration was increased. In comparison with the raw fiber, it was found that fiber treated with 5% NaOH solution exhibited enhanced tensile strength (129%) and strain to failure (175%), in addition to increased yellowness, redness, and thermal stability. Contrariwise, the Young modulus and lightness slightly decreased with the treatment. The Fourier transform infrared spectra and the XRD patterns suggested an incipient allotropic transformation of cellulose for 10% NaOH-treated fibers. These changes could be explained by the gradual dissolution of non-cellulosic components as revealed by the Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflection spectra and thermal analysis.

Keywords


Natural fiber; Raffia; Alkali treatment; Thermal degradation; Mechanical properties; Microstructure; Crystal structure; Cellulose; Color

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