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Performance evaluation of mercerization and acetylation on hardness of raffia palm fibre

N. Obinichi
I. Uchegbulam


As the demand for environmentally friendly products rises and global awareness on reducing toxicities in manufacturing increases, the exploitation of  plant-based raw materials like raffia palm fiber requires closer attention. In this study, the effect of sodium hydroxide and acetic anhydride concentration  on the hardness of raffia palm fiber at varying drying temperature and fiber length were investigated. The treatments were carried out using 10% sodium  hydroxide solution and 5% acetic anhydride at oven drying temperatures of 70oC for mercerized fiber and 50oC for acetylated fiber with varying  fiber length of 50mm, 60mm, 70mm and 80mm. Findings show hardness values of 257HR and 370HR for 10% NaOH at 70oC and 5% acetic anhydride at  50oC respectively showing a 30.38% rise in Rockwell Hardness value in the acetylated fibers over the mercerized cohorts. Remarkably, these results were  obtained at ideal fiber lengths of 60mm in both treatments. Hence, acetylation treatment at 5% acetic anhydride concentration and 50oC oven-drying  temperature using 60mm fiber length offered optimal hardness value for raffia palm fiber. This is highly recommended for industrial commercialization  for composites in the automobile, construction, manufacturing, medical, sports, oil and gas industries. In addition, the results from this study will open  new economic values for Nigerian Raffia Palm fiber as potential reinforcement material for both domestic and international markets and applications. 

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eISSN: 1118-1931
print ISSN: 1118-1931