An experimental study toward eco-friendly bamboo fiber extraction for textiles
Due to bamboo’s higher specific compressive strength when compared to wood, brick or concrete, the use of bamboo is mainly in construction and furniture. The morphology of the plant makes it a successful building material. The fibers are dense and strongly connected by lignin, pectin and other natural bonding elements which makes extraction of fibers challenging. That’s why, conventional rayon processing has been employed to create textile fibers by dissolving bamboo in chemicals retaining cellulosic portions only. Consequently, an increasingly popular advertisement in modern global market is “BAMBOO TEXTILES” which has earned interest from ecofriendly consumers. However, further inquiry into manufacturers’ practices show that the bamboo textiles in the market are made of bamboo viscose fibers and are not natural as consumers might be led to believe. Since the cellulose is mainly extracted to produce rayon, bamboo viscose does not retain the natural unique properties. Lignin and other contents in the fibers may make them stiffer but they are the origin of many unique properties. Extensive removal of these elements makes fibers softer and finer which are often associated with viscose. During this research study, 69 different bamboo fibers were produced from Phyllostachys rubromarginata bamboo species. Twenty-six of the specimens were very good and useable for spinning. This study revealed that no lone attempted method of chemical, enzymatic or mechanical treatment was able to produce expected fibers. Combinations of two or more techniques produced pliable fibers. Analyses of physical properties, structures and dimensions, and antibacterial properties of fibers are reported for each experiment. Most of the extracted fibers as well as cotton were found to be higher in diameter than bamboo and regular viscose. Moreover, fibers that showed antimicrobial/antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus were coarser than viscose. This study also focused on ecofriendly production; therefore, chemicals were employed in the lowest level that would still achieve the desired results. Major findings include specimens that achieve pliable natural bamboo fibers with antibacterial properties, possible routes and techniques for fiber extraction, and successive modification steps to the targeted textile fibers.