Triumfetta cordifolia: A Valuable (African) Source for Biocomposites

Peter Grosser, Carolin Siegel, Christoph Neinhuis, Thea Lautenschlaeger


The tradition of using naturally occurring plant fibers is still alive in Africa. In the Uíge province of northern Angola, bast fibers from Triumfetta cordifolia serve as the basis for everyday objects, such as baskets, mats, fishing nets, and traditional clothing. The fibers exhibit a Young’s modulus of 53.4 GPa and average tensile strength of 916.3 MPa, which are comparable to those of commercial kenaf fibers. These values indicate a high potential for use as a reinforcement in biocomposites. Based on this promising mechanical and physical profile of individual fibers, different biocomposites were produced with polylactide (PLA) as a matrix. The obtained composites were analyzed mechanically, physically, and visually. Unidirectionally arranged PLA/33% T. cordifolia composites with continuous fibers showed the highest Young’s modulus (10.79 GPa ± 1.52 GPa) and tensile strength (79.37 MPa ± 14.01 MPa). These composites were comparable to those of PLA/30% hemp composites (10.9 GPa and 82.9 MPa, respectively) and therefore have economic potential.


Bast fibers; Biocomposites; Lightweight; Tensile tests; Young’s modulus

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