Jute was the golden fibre of Bangladesh but its glory has been faded up over the time due to some strategic and technical drawbacks. Growth of synthetic sacking options took away the market share of jute. In this work, the effect of woolenization of jute fibre is described and a practical case has been done. It is demonstrated that this kind of treatment leads to several changes of jute’s structure, which has turned as nearly the structure of wool. This work is done by different concentrations of different alkali. 15% NaOH treatment of jute has shown best woolenized effect. A product has been made from woolenized jute fiber.
Jute has high specific properties, low density, less abrasive behavior, good dimensional stability and harmlessness. Jute textile is a low cost ecofriendly product and is abundantly available, easy to transport and has superior drapability and moisture retention capacity .It is widely being used as a natural choice for plant mulching and rural road pavement construction. Use of biodegradable and low priced jute products is increasing day by day. But still jute product diversification is needed to find value added use of this fiber.
Wool fiber is animal hair consists of complex proteins. Due to crimp, each fibre stands away from its neighbors and used in suiting and dress materials, blankets, carpets, jackets. Collecting, processing and caring of wool is potentially costly hence use of wool is drastically going done day by day. To get unique warmth and crimp effect of wool synthetic fibers like acrylic has replaced wool widely. A natural replacement like jute could give more comfort and environment friendly alternative.
Woolenization of jute is a process to treat the jute fiber with strong alkali to improve severely the appearance and handle of jute fibers & it’s blends. Profound changes such as lateral swelling occurs, together with considerable shrinkage in lengths, as a result of which the fiber is softened to the touch and develops a high degree of crimp or waviness. The crimp gives a wool-like appearance to the fiber & the resultant fiber is termed as woolenized jute fibre.
In the year 1981, Latifa Binte Lutfar the Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute worked on effect of the crimp characteristics of jute treated with caustic alkali and liquid ammonia. She reported decrease in diameter of fiber and increase in crimp. In 1989 B.L.Ghosh and A.K.Dutta found that there is a possibilities for improving the mechanical properties of jute composites by alkali treatment of fiber. In 1999 the English chemist Andrzej K. Bledzki & Jochen Gassan found that there is a possibilities for improving drapability of jute composites by alkali treatment of fiber. In 2001 Dipa Ray and B. K. Sarkar reported in bulletin of material science that different concentration of NaOH has different effect. In 2003, P.k Ray & B.k Das, they worked on the partial mercerization & crimp development in jute fibre. & they reported some crimp development in jute fiber. In 2009 N. Chowdhury & N.K Azd, where they tried to find the chemical effect of physio-mechanical properties of jute & jute-synthetic blended (80/20) yarns & they reported that more quality ratio in woolenized yarn other than grey, bleached, dyed & soften yarn but this was blended jute yarn. In 2013 Bijay dhakal worked on the effect of loading and orientation of jute fiber and he reported that how the structure of jute fiber is changed.
The practical case of woolenization:
In woolenization process, the results shown that the structure of jute fiber is changed where the lateral swelling is occurred, the crimp behavior gives wool like appearance, the warmness of jute fiber is increased & mainly got good hand feel properties as like as wool.
Different concentrations of different alkaline solutions were used for woolenization. However complete woolenization was not observed for all solutions. More swelling effect was observed on 20% NaOH solution, which had good hand feel properties but the strength of this jute was very poor. On the other hand ammonia, 5% NaOH, 10% NaOH, 10% Na2CO3 Solution treated jute yarn showed lower swelling effect. 15% NaOH treated jute yarn shown considerably good swelling effect.
The tensile strength, young’s modulus & elongation at break of different concentrated alkali treated jute yarn is illustrated in table 1. The table 1 illustrated that the tensile strength of ammonia treated jute yarn is more & yarn is break down after 1.33% of elongation. But ammonia treated jute yarn shown less swelling properties. On the other hand, at 15% NaOH treated jute yarn shown good swelling properties. By comparing above properties, it can be said that best woolenized effect was found on 15% NaOH treated jute yarn.
Softening & Knitting:
After dyeing of 15% NaOH treated jute yarn, softening is done. By hand knitting of colorful jute yarn knitted hand bags has been made. The differences in the products can be observed from the figures 3,4 and 5.
The effect on woolenization of jute fibre has shown the remarkable change in physical & chemical properties and the structure of jute that turned into nearly as wool fibre. The product made from 15% NaOH treated woolenized jute fiber was environmental friendly & looked almost same like wool product. However main limitation of jute was its stiffness & also the fiber is coarse compared to wool. The price of wool yarn is much higher than jute yarn. So, if some wool can be replaced by woolenized jute, it would be a better diversified use of jute.
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