For the first time in the world, Egyptian researchers from PalmFil Consortium has developed textile fibre from date palm by-products.
The goal of the research was to extract high-performance fibres from the date palm midrib using a combined alkaline-mechanical process and study the outcome of the extraction conditions on the physicochemical, morphological, and mechanical properties.
This date palm fibre is sustainable and economical and compatible with textile and composite processing and offers the properties required for future lightweight cars, sporting goods, plaster reinforcements in construction, burlap sacks for packaging, ropes, twines, non-wood papers, and other consumer products.
The fibre is biodegradable and compostable and has a specific tensile strength five times higher than structural steel, and equal to those of flax, hemp, and sisal.
“Since the 1980’s the shift from natural fibres to manmade fibers was mostly to bridge the gap between the growing demand for textile fibers and the inadequate supply of natural fibers,” said Dr. Mohamad Midani, Partner, PalmFil Consortium.
Producing date palm fibre is suitable as there are more than 140 million date palms in the Middle East and North Africa, making more than 4.8 million tonnes of by-products of date tree pruning every year that is viewed as agriculture waste.
PalmFil consortium extracted first long textile fibre from such by-products and transformed it into fibre tow, chopped fibre, spun yarn/roving, non-woven mat, woven fabric, and unidirectional tape.
“We did complete research to enhance the extraction process and we did a detailed classification of the new fiber,” says Ms. Lobna Elseify, partner, PalmFil Consortium.
This fiber is well acknowledged by the industrial community in Egypt, and it has been treated on a full industrial scale spinning line at the Egyptian Industrial Center of Flax.