Process Ability Enhancement of false Banana Fiber

Master's Thesis, 2012

58 Pages, Grade: Excellent


Table Of Contents






1.1 Back ground and justification
1.2 Problem of statement
1.3 Beneficiaries

2.1 General objectives
2.2 Specific objectives

3.1 Physical structure of Enset (FBF)
3.2 Botanical classification and distribution of Enset
3.3 Cultivation of false banana (Enset plant)
3.4 Fiber extraction
3.5 Composition of false banana fiber
3.6 Historical Background of Jute/false banana Spinning
3.7 Physical and Chemical Properties of banana and jute
3.8 Treatment of banana fibers with alkali and softeners
3.8.1 Alkali (NaOH)
3.8.2 Batching oil
3.8.3 Aloe Vera
3.8.4 Silicone softener
3.8.5 Castor oil and cotton seed oil
3.9 Softening and lubricating machine of false banana Fiber
3.10 False banana utilization in Ethiopia as source of fiber

4.1 Materials
4.2 Procedures and Methodology
4.2.1 Collection and preservation of FBF samples
4.2.2 Data collection and analysis
4.2.3 Methodology
4.3 Replacing Batching Oil with castor and Cotton Seed Oil.
4.4 Physical and Mechanical Property Tests
4.5 Chemical and biochemical Fiber Modification
4.5.1 Treatment with peroxide
4.5.2 Treatment with Alkali
4.5.3 Treatment with Softeners Treatment with silicone softener Castor oil, cottonseed oil and Aloe Vera

5.1 Structural change
5.2 Weight loss
5.3 Fiber Fineness
5.4 Tensile strength
5.5 Moisture Content
5.6 Flexural Rigidity (Gf) ,Bending rigidity and Torsional rigidity
5.7 Fourier Transform Infrared Analysis (FTIR)

6.1 Conclusion
6.2 Recommendation




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The interest in using natural fibers has increased significantly in the last few years, especially because of its use as an agent of reinforcement and more recently as heavy metals bio-adsorbent. The abundance in nature combined with the ease of its processing was an attractive feature, which makes it an important substitute for synthetic fibers which were potentially toxic. These ligno-cellulosic fibers possess many characteristics which make their use advantageous: low cost, low density, biological degradability, renewability, good mechanical properties and non-toxic. Now a day, Natural fibers (NF) are preferable for their appropriate stiffness, mechanical properties and high disposability. False Banana fiber (FBF), a ligno-cellulosic fiber, obtained from the pseudo-stem of false banana plant (Musa sepientum), was a bast fiber with relatively good mechanical properties [11].

Natural fiber (NF) from false banana was among widely used natural fibers on Southern part of Ethiopia. Natural fibers are treated with different materials in different modes to increase their strength, durability and sustainability while possessing their inherent degradable character to maintain environment from pollution . A widely accepted classification of vegetable fibers was based on their location on the plant. Accordingly, the three principal categories were; seed hair fibers, bast fibers, and leaf fibers [1, 3, 12].

Table 1.1 General classifications of vegetable fibers

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The stem of the false banana plant furnishes a very important fiber for cordage and sacking fabrics. Generally, false banana plant can be classified in to two groups, depending on the edibility of the starch (kocha or bulla) found in it: Edible and wild false banana plant having a species name M. textilis, M. ensete, M. fehi [11,14]. Although the stem of the edible false banana can give fiber, the fiber obtained from them has less strength. These species will be dealt in the next sections in detail, as it is the main concern of this work. In this paper, more attention will be given on studying the physic-chemical properties and chemical composition of false banana fiber through laboratory works and experiments. As far as the false banana fiber process ability enhancement was concerned, some parameters of jute and banana fibers are studied here. Finally, chemical treatments to remove unwanted chemical substances present in the fiber structure and modification of the physic-chemical property of the fiber with process ability enhancement will be studied. A typical fibre material extracted by the above process was shown in Figure 1.1 [14, 23].

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Figure 1.1. A typical view of false banana fibres.

1.1 Back ground and justification

Ethiopia had an agricultural lead economy, producing a variety of cereals, fruits, vegetables and cash crops. In spite of this, a shortage of raw materials was a notable hindrance limiting the industrial growth of the country. Besides the main agricultural products, different parts of the plants and fruits of many crops may be viable sources of raw material for industrial utilization, but only part of this material was exploited profitably because of lack of knowledge of the technology for its economic use and so much was returned to nature unused. The waste by-products of agricultural products are numerous and quantitatively lucrative in a country like Ethiopia with its vast agricultural resources.

In 21st century, there was a greater awareness of the need for an eco-friendly material in an expanding world population and increasing demand for new materials. Our resources were being used up, our planet was being polluted, that non-renewable resources will not last forever, and that we need more environmentally friendly materials [14].Depleting natural resources, regulations on using synthetic materials, growing environmental awareness and economic considerations were the major driving forces to utilize annually renewable resources such as biomass for various industrial applications[14]. Biomasses such as agricultural crops and residues, forest resources and residues, animal and municipal wastes were the largest source for cellulose in the world. Approximately 2x1011 tons of lignocellulosic were produced every year, compared with 1.5x10 8 tons of synthetic polymers [14].

1.2 Problem of statement

The main problems which elucidate the need and efficient utilization of agro-wastes and problems arising from usage of synthetic fibers can be outlined as:

1. Because lack of knowledge and technology, the present usage of the agricultural wastes was insignificant. It was rather becoming a problem that should be handled systematically.
2. Environmentally Unfriendly: The production of synthetic materials for clothing, packaging, and other application was not eco-friendly and requires strong acids, alkalis, solvents, high temperatures, and heavy metal catalysts.
3. Hazardous Waste Generation: Since synthetic production of materials needs very toxic and hazardous chemicals, it also generates a hazardous waste, the disposal of which was a major environmental and economic challenge.
4. The need for an eco-friendly material in an expanding world population and increasing demand for new materials intensifies the seriousness of the problem. Acute shortage of raw materials especially in paper industries necessities the usage of unconventional sources of celluloses as an alternative sources of cellulose pulps or fibers apart from the most commonly used eucalyptus trees.
5. The stem portions of false banana plant were dumped as waste, farmers often face the problem of disposal of Pseudo stems and these huge stocks were getting accumulated in false banana growing areas. The fruitful utilization of these stems was therefore an important issue related to false banana cultivation.

Therefore, this research aims at facilitating innovative eco-friendly extraction, product development activities, and effective industrial utilization of fibrous wastes from false banana plants.

1.3 Beneficiaries

False banana fiber was the major alternative source of packing and pulp industry. Raw material was freely available. The false banana fiber project creates a lot of employment opportunities in urban and rural sectors. (As a wealth from waste concept) false banana fiber was eco friendly and biodegradable comparing to all other synthetic fibers.It had also good market potential in fibrous form. These can also be further processed to obtain pure pulps and papers which give much greater value addition. Now a day many value added products were further developed from false banana fibers. False banana fibers were used in the following industries:

i. Packaging industries.
ii. Textile industry.
iii. Pulp and paper industries.

Generally the main beneficiaries of this research work include: Marginal farmers, large scale false banana plant cultivators, sack manufacturer, Paper & pulp industries, and Textile industries.


2.1 General objectives

The main objective of this project was to enhance process ability and utilization potential of false banana fiber (Enset) as industrial material.

2.2 Specific objectives

The specific objectives of this project are:

1. Process ability (spinning ability) enhancement of false banana by reducing the breakage rate/brittleness of the fiber during spinning (Optimize fiber process ability through physic-chemical treatment like scouring, peroxide, alkalization and softening).
2. To study the physical and chemical properties of False Banana fiber.
3. Import substitution of Jute and Sisal with False Banana fiber.


3.1 Physical structure of Enset (FBF)

Enset looks like a large, thick, single-stemmed banana plant. Both enset and banana have an underground corm, a bundle of leaf sheaths that form the pseudo stem, and large leaves (Figure 2.1). Enset, however, is usually larger than banana, with the largest plants up to 10 meters tall and with a pseudo stem up to one meter in diameter. The leaves are more erect than those of a banana plant, have the shape of a lance head, and may be five meters long and nearly one meter wide. Banana plants normally form suckers or clusters of plants at the base, but enset does not [14,23].

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Figure 3.1.Enset plant structure [23].

The stem has three parts. The upper-most portion is the pseudo stem, which is made of a system of tightly clasping leaf bases or leaf sheaths. The pseudo stem may be two to three meters tall and contains an edible pulp and quality fiber. The underground corm is really an enlarged lower portion of the stem. It may be up to 0.7 meters in length and in diameter.

A short section of stem near the soil line, between the pseudo stem and corm, is the true botanical stem. Leaves and the single flower head initiate from the true stem at its center, grow up through the middle of the pseudo stem, and emerge at the whorl in the middle of the leaf bases. Most wild and a few cultivated plants are produced from seed, and have more than one parent. Most domesticated plants, however, are propagated from suckers, and are clones of their one parent. Most plants are harvested before or at early stages of flower formation [23].

3.2 Botanical classification and distribution of Enset

Enset belongs to the order Scitamineae, the family Musaceae, and the genus Ensete. Banana is in the same family as enset, in the genus Musa. Although further research still needs to be done on the taxonomy and distribution of enset species, current data reveal two wild enset species distributed over much of Asia, and four wild species in sub-Saharan Africa and

Madagascar (Baker and Simmonds, 1953; Simmonds, 1958). Ensete ventricosum, the only known wild species in Ethiopia, is concentrated in the southern highlands, but also grows in the central and northern highlands around Lake Tana, the Simien Mountains, and as far north as Adigrat and into southern Eritrea[23].

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Figure 3.2. General Area of Enset Cultivation in Ethiopia[23].

In spite of the extensive distribution of wild enset, it is only in Ethiopia that the plant has been domesticated. Wild enset propagates naturally by seed, and is restricted in Ethiopia to elevations of approximately 1,200 to 1,600 meters above sea level. However, farmers almost always propagate domesticated enset vegetatively and recognize more than 50 different varieties, clones or landraces (Alemu and Sandford, 1996; Shigeta, 1991; Zippel, 1995). Domesticated enset (also classified taxonomically as Ensete ventricosum) is planted at elevations ranging from 1,100 to more than 3,000 meters, indicating the extent to which its natural distribution has been expanded artificially through domestication. Vernacular names for domesticated enset include enset (Amhara), asat (Gurage), weise (Kambata), and wassa (Sidama), among others [23].

3.3 Cultivation of false banana (Enset plant)

Climate: The structure of the false banana plant and its habits of growth are such that a large and constant supply of moisture is required. The most important false banana provinces have, as a rule, a heavy, and evenly distributed rainfall. The actual amount of rainfall required by the false banana plant is not very large, but it is essential to be evenly distributed throughout the year. In districts having a long and pronounced dry season, irrespective of the annual amount of rainfall, the cultivation of false banana cannot be successfully carried on unless water is available for irrigation. False banana plant requires a warm climate, and for this reason its successful cultivation can be accomplished only in tropical countries and an elevation of 1,000 meters -1600 meters. Cold climates are detrimental to the plant, both in regard to the extent of its growth and the development of its fiber. Extreme hot climate, on the other hand, appears to affect the plant unfavorably, probably because it causes excessive and rapid evaporation of moisture both from the leaves and the soil, especially during the 3 driest period of the year. False banana plant with its heavy broad leaves is very often seriously injured by strong winds. It is, therefore, always desirable to select localities which are naturally protected from such winds. If natural barriers are not available, windbreaks must be planted along the exposed side or sides and also at intervals among the plants. Next in importance to favorable climatic conditions is the selection of a suitable soil. The suitability of any particular type of soil of necessity depends, on the one hand, on the climatic conditions, and on the other, on the location. [11].

3.4 Fiber extraction

There are two ways of false banana fiber extraction adopted. These are stripping and decortications by a decorticator.

a) Stripping: The most widely used and oldest method of removing fiber from the leaf sheaths consists of two basic operations: first, separating the fibrous outré layer from each leaf sheath, this outer layer being termed “tuxy” and the operation “tuxying”; and second removing pulpy material, thus freeing the fiber strands from the tuxy, the operation being termed stripping or cleaning. Both operations have to be performed as soon as possible after the stalk is felled. The tuxying operation is usually done in the field. The workman inserts a point of knife between the outer and middle layers of the leaf sheath, freeing an end of the outer layer 1 to 3 inch wide. This strip or tuxy is pulled off the entire length of the sheath. Each leaf sheath furnishes 2 to 3 tuxies. When all tuxies are removed from the leaf sheath, it is removed from the stalk and allowed to remain on the field for organic fertilizer. Usually another workman picks up the tuxies and carries them to the place where the stripping or cleaning operation is to be performed [11].

b) Decortications: False banana fiber is also cleaned by means of a decorticator. Small spreaders machine used to separate fibers form the stem of the plant [11].

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Fig 3.3. False banana fiber decorticating machine [11].

3.5 Composition of false banana fiber

The carbohydrate portion of the vast majority of plants is composed of cellulose and hemicellulose polymers with minor amounts of other sugar polymers such as starch and pectins. The combination of cellulose and the hemicelluloses are called holocellulose and usually accounts for 65-70 percent of the plant dry weight. When compared to other lignocellulosic plants banana pseudo-stem have higher cellulose content probably due to the higher amount of fruit they support[12, 13].

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Figure 3.4 False banana pseudo-stems [13].

Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin are the main constituents of lignocellulosics. The proportion of these components in a fiber depends on the age, source of the fiber and the extraction conditions used to obtain the fibers. The core (stem) part of the plant has higher cellulose composition than the leaf veins thus can be used as an economic source of cellulosic fiber. Unlike cotton fiber, false banana fiber is multicellular with thin walled cells and larger lumen. The lumens are large in relation to the wall thickness. Cross markings are rare and fiber tips pointed and flat, ribbon like individual fiber diameter range from 14 to 50 microns and the length from 0.25 cm to 1.3 cm, showing the large oval to round lumen [14].

Compared to jute fiber which has cellulose composition of 58-63 % the false banana plant contains higher composition of cellulose (60-67%) which is significantly enough to be used for pulping see table below. It has been estimated that Out of the total plant composition 11% is fruit, remaining is fibrous (1-2%) and non fibrous waste [2].

Table 3.1 Composition of false banana fiber.

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*The banana species used are Musa Acuminate, and Musa Balbisiana. [13]

Cellulose: Cellulose is a glucan polymer of D-glucopyranose units, which are linked together by b-(1-4)-glucosidic bonds. Actually the building block for cellulose is cellobiose since the repeating unit in cellulose is a two sugar unit [20].

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Figure 3.5 Molecular structure of cellulose [6]

Hemicelluloses: In nature cellulose never occurs in pure form. The main components found together with cellulose are hemicellulose, lignin, and pectin’s. In general, the hemicellulose fraction of plants consists of a collection of polysaccharide polymers with a lower DP than cellulose and containing mainly sugars. They usually contain a backbone consisting of one repeating sugar unit linked b-(1-4) with branch points (1-2), (1-3), and/or (1-6)[8].

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Figure 3.6 some monomers of hemicelluloses [8].

Lignin: Lignin is amorphous, highly complex, mainly aromatic, polymers of phenyl propane units. All plant lignin consist mainly of three basic building blocks of guaiacyl, syringyl and p-hydroxy phenyl moieties, although other aromatic type units also exist in many different types of plants, about 70% of the lignin is located in the secondary wall [8].

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Figure 3.7 Structure of lignin and main monomer units [8]

Ash: The inorganic content of a plant is usually referred to its ash content which is an approximate measure of the mineral salts and other inorganic matter in the fiber after combustion at a temperature of 575 ± 25 °C. The inorganic content can be quite high in plants containing large amounts of silica [8].

Extractives: The extractives are a group of cell wall chemicals mainly consisting of fats, fatty acids, fatty alcohols, phenols, terpenes, steroids, resin acids, rosin, waxes and etc. These chemical exist as monomers, dimers, and polymers. They derive their name by being chemicals that are removed by one of several extraction procedures [8].

3.6 Historical Background of Jute/false banana Spinning

Early evidence shows that, wrapping fabrics, twins, ropes, and cordages were being made from low cost fiber, which were available in large quantities. Among these, bast fibers like jute, flax, hemp, ramie, and leaf fibers like abaca; one of the false banana fibers and fibers like sisal and henequen are the main raw materials used for packing industries [20]. The most commonly operated jute spinning system consists of two stages of carding followed by three stages of drawing and finally a spinning stage. False Banana Fiber is bast fiber used for the manufacturing of sack, burlap, and twine as a packing material for tufted carpets. The manufacturing processes of false banana fibers are shown below.

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Fig 3.8. Flow chart of jute/false banana fiber manufacturing processes.

This is the common flow chart of FBF processing in G7 industrial PLC. Some additional steps can be added with it depending on customer requirement. It can be changed with respect to count of yarn but it is the principle of Jute yarn manufacturing processes. It also depends on the type of product like Hessian or sacking, Hessian is also produced by fine yarn but for sack we are using coarser yarn count.

3.7 Physical and Chemical Properties of banana and jute

Fine structure and appearance: commercial banana and jute fibers are in the form of strands containing many individual fibers held together by natural gums. Both have good natural luster. Their color depends up on the condition under which they have been processed; good quality banana/jute is off-white, where as some poor quality fiber is nearly yellowish [1, 2].

Length: The strand length varies greatly depending on the precise source and treatment of the fiber during fiber extraction. If the fiber is removed from the full length of the sheaths, as in hand or machine stripping fiber strands from the middle sheaths may run as long as 15ft or more; average length ranges from 3 to 15 ft.

Tenacity modulus and elasticity: When we see the load elongation or stress strain property, banana fiber has less tenacity and elasticity property than jute fiber. [11]

Table 3.2 Physical properties of Banana compared with Jute

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Excerpt out of 58 pages


Process Ability Enhancement of false Banana Fiber
Bahir Dar University  (Institute of Technology for Textile, Garment and Fashion Design)
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process, ability, enhancement, banana, fiber
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Alhayat Getu Temesgen (Author), 2012, Process Ability Enhancement of false Banana Fiber, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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    thanking for your cooperation to publish it.

  • guest on 4/20/2015

    Dear Sir
    I had a chance to read this outstanding research work and I found many good things!

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