In most parts of India, these banana trunks are thrown as agricultural waste because most of the people are ignorant about the extraction of the fibre and its utilization except Kerala where this fibre is partly used for manufacturing household articles. This present portion of article gives an evaluation of yield, structure and properties of banana fibres gathered from a few commercially cultivated varieties. Results indicate that variation exists in both structure and properties of fibres from different regions along the length and across the thickness of the trunk.
Banana fiber is a natural leaf fiber. It has its own physical and chemical characteristics and many other properties that make it a fine quality fiber.
• The appearance of banana fiber is similar to that of bamboo fiber and ramie fiber.
• The chemical composition of banana fiber is cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin.
• It is a strong fiber.
• It has smaller elongation.
• It has somewhat shiny appearance depending upon the extraction. • It is lightweight.
• It has strong moisture absorption quality. It absorbs as well as releases moisture very fast.
• It is biodegradable and has no negative effect on the environment and thus can be categorized as eco-friendly fiber.
• Its average fineness is 4 to 15 tex.
Specification of Banana fibres
Physical properties of banana fiber
Banana fiber is short, before spinning, must be made Technical fiber(length is 50~60mm)
Properties of modified fiber
Physical properties of banana fibre
Mechanical property of banana fibre for different varieties
There are characteristics with high strength, small elongation, good luster, lightweight, strong moisture absorption, fast moisture absorption and release, easy degradation as well as environmental protection, etc. Banana fiber can be made into a garment, curtain, towel, bed sheet, etc due to its characteristics with good luster and moisture absorption.
Before discussing further on the utility of the banana fibre two reports may be quoted here to elaborate its versatile uses. The Times of India representative in Federal Republic of Germany, Sri. M. V. Kamath wrote in the course of an article on the subject on 29.1.1961 that:
The banana fibre according to very high authorities, is not only suitable for manufacturing strings, ropes, cords, cables and shipbuilding thread but can also be used to make sacks and packing fabrics as well as mats and rugs. Expert opinion submitted by the institute as Reutilgen reveals that it is in many ways superior from the point of view of quality to jute fibres. It is not only lighter but also sturdier than a comparable jute sack. The initial expectations, according to the report, were even surpassed when it was finally found that the banana fibre is even equal to Manila hemp and is alkali proof, and had good receptivity for dyes
Banana fibres can be spun into yarns, whose solidity is suitable for packing textures. The solidity is sufficient and is better than comparable jute textures, when their readiness to not be concerned, textures of banana fibres, as the earth-rotting test showed, are to be declared good.
It may be pointed out that the above experiments were made and suggestions and findings thus recorded during early part of decade of the sixties when even jute was not thought suitable for garment industry. The situation has now changed considerably and as on date jute has already entered into the garment sector, a domain considered exclusive for cotton, silk, woolens and synthetics.
Therefore, if quality and fineness besides spinnable quality is considered in comparison at least with jute, banana fibres is certainly superior. Considering the color of the inner fibres it is certainly suitable for value-added fashion garments. Fact that Hindu mythology described it as ‖Kalpa Brikshya‖ a plant that gives us food, medicines, shelter and clothing‘s, it is natural that it was considered as a plant that gave us garments. Therefore during ancient India use of its fibres for garment industry was fairly known. Perhaps it was discarded due to its later discoveries.
Thus this neglected fibre available all over India in abundance can give us garments of high fashion. Even coarse fibres can be used for winter garments. It can thus answer to the future textile crisis not only in India but also the entire tropical world.