Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Ecology

Document Type



Raw materials used in nonwoven products vary greatly, covering the entire spectrum from synthetic to natural fibers. The limitation of use for industrial applications of nonwoven products has long been surpassed, today nonwovens being found in diverse applications ranging from intimate apparel to geotextiles. The present work has as its ultimate goal to develop a commercial method for characterizing some of the physical properties of bagasse or other unconventional fibers obtained through a new atmospheric extraction method, and also to create and analyze different nonwoven structures based on bagasse, kenaf and other annual plants. Bagasse fibers were extracted from sugar cane rind in two different steps: mechanical separation and chemical extraction. Several factors were considered such as solutions of sodium hydroxide with different concentrations and time of reaction. A similar process was used for kenaf. The kenaf rind containing outer bast fiber was mechanically separated (using a Tilby separator) and chemically treated with an alkali solution. Even though underrated as a potential fiber, bagasse draws more and more attention because of the increasing concern for disposal of agricultural residues and the need for enhancing the sugar cane industry's profitability. However, there is a lack of an instrumental method to evaluate bagasse fiber length and fineness. This paper presents a study on measuring bagasse fiber fineness using image analysis method. Cross-section images of bagasse fibers were visualized using Scanning Electronic Microscopy (SEM). The relationship between fiber fineness and cross-sectional area was analyzed using the statistical method of regression. The model used in this method can be extended for evaluating convesely the cross-sectional area when the finess is known, and/or for evaluating other unconventional fibers. Different structures of nonwoven materials were created through carding, needle-punching, and thermal-bonding. As bonding agents, different types of synthetic polymers have been used depending on the final product usage. The final products were subjected to testing procedures (according with their usage) such as mechanical determinations, thermal analysis, dynamo-mechanical analysis, biodegradability. The results provided information regarding the possibility to use the nonwoven structures created in different applications.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Yan Chen



Included in

Human Ecology Commons