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Banana fiber extraction processing, yarn spinning & weaving

The National Institute for Inter-Disciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) in India developed a technology to extract banana fibre which involves an anaerobic (without oxygen) process. Enzymes produced in an anaerobic reactor are used to separate the fibres. Once the process of separation of fibres gets completed the fibres are then washed and dried in sunlight. The fibre thus obtained is pure white in colour. NIIST claims that this process is low-cost, pollution-free and does not damage fibres.
The extraction of the natural fibre from the plant required certain care to avoid damage. In the present experiments, initially, the banana plant sections were cut from the main stem of the plant and then rolled lightly to remove the excess moisture. Impurities in the rolled fibres such as pigments, broken fibres, coating of cellulose etc. Were removed manually by means of comb, and then the fibres were cleaned and dried. This mechanical and manual extraction of banana fibres was tedious, time-consuming, and caused damage to the fibre. Consequently, this type of technique cannot be recommended for industrial application.
A special machine was designed and developed for the extraction of banana fibres in a mechanically automated manner. It consisted mainly of two horizontal beams whereby a carriage with an attached and specially designed comb, could move back and forth. The fibre extraction using this technique could be performed simply by placing a cleaned part of the banana stem on the fixed platform of the machine and clamped at the ends by jaws. This eliminated relative movement of the stem and avoided premature breakage of the fibres. This follows cleaning and drying of the fibres in a chamber at 200 C for three hours. These fibres were then labelled and ready for the lamination process. After fibre is collected, the process goes to yarn spinning.
The banana fibre extracting machine will be promoted among poor farmers and small rural entrepreneurs. Fascinating features of this machine is that it uses agriculture waste of banana harvest to produce silk-like fibres. These fibres are of great help to the handicraft and textile industry. Agricultural waste is now used to produce good quality silk-like fibre yarn.

The researcher investigated the traditional process, which use the filament yarns in weaving banana fabric. The finding showed that the convention process was very time-consuming, thus not appropriate for today’s use. Therefore, this research explored open-ended spinning process for yarn development. The fibre was cut into 3-centimeter length for the spinning process. After yarn spinning, weaving is done in the looms as per normal process like any other material.
According to the researchers, the fabric can be cheaper than cotton and linen if it is produced in large scale. Fabrics made from these fibres have good shine, are lightweight, have quick moisture absorption quality and look similar to linen. It can work as an environment-friendly substitute for many popular fabrics.

Weaving Preparatory process
Bleaching
Bleaching operation is carried out to improve the whiteness of fabric. This is achieved by the process known as bleaching. During bleaching the natural colouring matters present in banana are decomposed to colourless substances. The removal of these colouring matters helps to improve the whiteness of banana fabric.

Purpose of bleaching

  • To produce white fabric by destroying colouring matter with minimum fibre degradation.
  • To improve brightness of colour after dyeing or printing
  • Further improvement of whiteness by treatment with optical brightening agents when the fabric is to be marketed as white

Purpose of preparatory processes
• To remove natural and added impurities
• To impart certain desirable properties (water absorbency)
• To improve the appearance of fabric (whiteness)
• To make it suitable for subsequent processes like dyeing, printing finishing
• Removal impurities to the maximum extent with minimum effect on fabric strength. In case of cotton following chemical reactions are involved while removing the impurities
• Hydrolysis
• Oxidation
Sizing and Starching
Sizing is a protective process. The process of applying a protective adhesive coating upon yarns surface is called sizing. This is the most important operation to attain maximum weaving efficiency, especially for blended yarns.

Purpose of Sizing
Sizing is done during beam preparation for getting some advantage of weaving. Sizing has lots of objects given below.
• To improve the weave ability of warp yarn by making it more resistance to the action of weaving like absorption, friction, tension etc.
• To maintain good fabric quality by reducing hairiness, weakness and by increasing smoothness and absorbency of yarn
• Elasticity of the yarn is increased.
Dyeing of banana fibres
• The extracted fibre after splicing basic colours are used for dyeing. Natural dyes are obtained from hibiscus, pomegranate, henna, harifra plants. The required dye in the required quantity is added to boiling water

  • Then the fibre is added and boiled for 15 minutes to 1 hour according to the requirement. It is later transferred, washed and dried.
  • Once the fibres are ready for knotting a bunch of fibres are mounted or clamped on a stick to facilitate segregation
  • Each fibre is separated according to fibre sizes and grouped accordingly. To knot the fibre each fibre is knotted to end of another fibre manually.
  • The separation and knotting are repeated until the bunches of unknotted fibres are finished to form a long and continuous strand.

Decaying of banana fiber

  • The extracted fiber after splicing basic color are used for dyeing, natural dyes are obtained from hibiscus pomegranate henna harifra plant. The required dye and the required quantity is added to boiling water.
  • Then the fiber is added and boiled for 15 minutes to 1 hour according to the requirement, it is later transferred to washed and dried.
  • Once the fiber are ready for knotting a bunch of fibers are mounted or clamped on a stick to facilitate segregation.

Source: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY- MANOGNA AVUNOORI.
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