A.K.M Nayab-Ul-Hossain, Salma Katun Sela, Professor Dr. Md. Abdus Shahid
Lecturer, Department of Textile Engineering, Khulna University of Engineering & Technology,
Asst. Manager, Thermax woven dyeing limited.
Professor, Department of Textile Engineering, Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology
Banana plant not only gives the delicious fruit but it also provides textile fiber, the banana fiber. It grows easily as it sets out young shoots and is most commonly found in hot tropical climates. All varieties of banana plants have fibers in abundance. These fibers are obtained after the fruit is harvested and fall in the group of bast fibers. In banana plantations, after the fruits are harvested, the trunks or stems will be wasted. Billion tons of stems and leaves are thrown away annually. Such waste provides obtainable sources of fibers, which leads to the reduction of other natural and synthetic fibers’ production that requires extra energy, fertilizer, and chemical. The properties of banana fiber are good absorbent, highly breathable, quickly dry with high tensile strength. This research is to develop banana fiber from the plant that is available locally throughout the country of Bangladesh but rarely used as fiber source in textile industry. The focus of the study is to optimize the fiber producing processes of in an environmental friendly manner and decrease chemicals and toxic agents incurred. The findings were 25-30% yield for fiber collection and the mechanical process (fresh method) is an appropriate method of fiber extraction. The yarn spinning and knitting were experimented but the results have not been satisfied, yet. Further study should be developed. As banana fiber can provide a wide variety of uses in textile and paper industry, the study, the application of this locally and widely grown plant species for the sustainable development would be beneficial.
After the industrial revolution, synthetic component and chemistry have been developed to increase efficiency to fulfill the needs in textile production. It became one of many industries highly affecting on the environment, especially water and soil pollution. Textile production processes release some chemicals that contaminate water and soils resources, including fume emission. Cultivation of natural fiber, including fibers from plants and animals, requires the use of hazardous pesticide and chemical fertilizers to control and increase the quality. Textile production processes are now shaping toward the concept of environmental-friendly and sustainable development. These ideas are not very new in textile industry. The progresses have been improving ranges of natural and environmental (eco)-friendly textile processes. Many efforts have been made in sciences and technology to develop environmental-friendly process to sustain relationship with the ecosystem. However, alternative materials should be considered. This research proposes an option of natural fiber, byproduct from banana fruit cultivation, by suggesting a use of left over banana trunk as fiber source in textile process.
Information about Banana
Banana is a tropical herbaceous plant consisting of an underground corm and a trunk (pseudo stem) comprised of concentric layers of leaf sheaths. At 10 to 15 months after the emergence of a new plant, its true stem rapidly grows up through the center and emerges as a terminal inflorescence which bears fruit. After banana fruits are harvested, their trunk will be wasted. Three trillion banana trees were thrown away every year. Hence, it will be highly advantageous to investigate the potential of this locally grown plant as fiber source. Textile production has been developing to increase efficiency to serve consumer’s needs. As the convenience increases, villagers tend to neglect traditional fiber harvesting process and turn to synthetic fibers and chemicals to achieve production capability, including expensive imported fibers and yarns purchased from foreign traders, whereas the local cheap material available in their hometown is ignored. The significances of this study is using left-over banana trunk as raw material in environmental-friendly manner to optimize natural fiber processes and decrease chemical and toxic agents in the process. As the material is available locally, villagers are not necessary to purchase or grow new plant and using extra chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. Utilizing banana fibers will promote sustainable development in the community, since villagers will be able to produce this fiber in their household.
Development of Using Banana Fiber and Other Natural Fibers
The research and development in utilizing banana fiber have not been generally conducted. Currently, there are only a few developments trying to fully utilize natural fibers, including banana fibers and its parts. In Australia, the researcher has developed paper technology by using banana trunk as raw material and cross-plying technique (papyrus paper technique) to produce banana paper. Banana paper is much stronger than regular paper. They use it for cement bags (25 kilograms weight) and other heavy duty bags. Since the tenacity of banana fiber is very high, therefore some automobile companies use it to reinforce the body of the vehicle. The European Union’s legislation forced producers to increase their products’ recyclability and bio degradability. Efforts have been made in the environmental conscious to avoid high disposable cost according to the legislation. Since natural fibers such as coconut, banana, is 100% biodegradable, there is no significant energy costs associated with processing waste and recycling because the waste fibers are wither fed back into the processing cycle. Coconut fiber is employed for headrest and car seat. Consequently, using natural fiber products provides value in projecting a positive public image. Scholars have explored banana fibers in composite material. Cellulosic fibers, such as banana fiber, are used to decrease cost as filler in plastic industry (composite material). The composite with high tensile strength can be obtained using banana combined with glass fiber in the fabric form. The strength impact of the composites increases with the number of layers and fiber volume fraction.
Table 1 Banana fiber properties
The data is compiled of information from:
(1) Fiber Properties. Philippines Textile Research Institute (2005),
(2) Thailand Textile Institute (2008), and this research experiment.
Banana Fiber Collection Process
In banana plantations, after the fruits are harvested, the trunks or stems will be discarded. These wastes provide obtainable sources of fibers, which leads to the reduction of other natural and synthetic fibers’ production that requires extra energy, fertilizer, and chemical. The properties of banana fiber are good absorbent, highly breathable, quickly dry with high tensile strength.
Table 2. Banana fiber yield test.
Comparison of Fiber Collection Methods
Natural fiber extraction processes could be employed in different procedures, including mechanical (extracting when the trunk is green and fresh), biological (extracting after banana trunk was fermented), and chemical methods. Different techniques offered advantages and difficulties according to the quality and amount of fibers obtained. The research explored only mechanical and biological methods. The chemical extraction method was not experimented because the ultimate goal of the whole research is to eliminate the unnecessary use of chemical in the process. Although both mechanical and biological methods provided similar yields, the results showed that fibers collected from biological method are darker than mechanical methods. The darker color is more difficult during dyeing and finishing process. In this research, the mechanical was employed because of the fiber’s quality achieved.
Yarn Spinning Development
After fiber is collected, the process goes to yarn spinning. The researcher investigated the traditional process, which use the filament yarns in weaving banana fabric. The finding showed that the convention process was very time-consuming, thus not appropriate for today’s use. Therefore, this research explored open-ended spinning process for yarn development. The fiber was cut in to 3-centimeter length for spinning process.
The findings from this research presented 25-30% yield from mechanical process. For a comparison of fiber extraction, the mechanical extraction should be employed. The mechanical process was appropriate for fiber collection since the color of fibers is lighter than biological process. The yarn spinning and knitting were experimented. The results were not satisfied, yet. The improvement of fabric hand feel and yarn quality should be developed. The research presents sustainable use of alternative materials, banana fibers, and suggests applications that reflect concerns for the environment. The environmental benefits of utilizing left-over products have offered options instead of using new fibers, where it could increase the demand of new natural material and high energy consumption. It also promotes awareness of environmental issue on excessive chemical in textile industry from using synthetic and petroleum-based fibers. As the environment changes rapidly, textile industry has also investigated alternatives that express cares for the natural resources and the future of the environment with less effect on ecosystem. Therefore, the awareness of environmental issues through the use of eco-friendly material that is locally available and easily renewable, is one of necessary responses to the development in textile processes.
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