Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Ecology

First Advisor

Billie J. Collier


Sugar cane fibers were extracted from the rind of cane stalks with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solutions of different concentrations, at atmospheric pressure, followed by a steam explosion. The extraction process was optimized using a central rotatable composite design, to study the influence of three reaction parameters (alkaline concentration, time of reaction and frequency of tumbling) on fiber bundle properties (weight, length, and tex). Tex was the objective function, with length as a constraint. Regression analysis indicated a quadratic polynomial response. Bleaching studies were conducted on sugar cane fibers extracted with 1.0N NaOH and on kenaf fibers mechanically processed only. Hydrogen peroxide solutions of different concentrations were used in a completely randomized design with factorial arrangement of treatments. Fibers bleached with 6% and 8% peroxide at 85$\sp\circ$C had a good light color while maintaining some of the mechanical properties. Fibers more severely bleached resulted in whiter although weaker fibers. Lignin determinations showed that, for both fibers, bleaching results in a further decrease in lignin content, between 22% and 33% for kenaf, and 25% and 38% for sugar cane. The environmental scanning electron microscope was used to examine the longitudinal features of fibers before and after bleaching. Dyeing studies used direct dyes as well as a basic dye. Both fibers dyed to strong colors, but in direct dyeing sugar cane had higher (75%-85%) exhaustion rates than kenaf did (28%). In the case of basic dyeing both fibers dyed with very low exhaustion rates.