Special Issue "Plant Fibers"

A special issue of Fibers (ISSN 2079-6439).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Carlo Santulli
Website
Guest Editor
School of Sciences and Technologies, Università di Camerino, via Gentile III da Varano 7, 62032 Camerino, Italy
Interests: biopolymers; biocomposites; natural fibers; mechanical and thermal characterization; agrowaste
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the study of plant fibers in materials engineering, to which this issue is dedicated, has become increasingly popular. This involves the outsourcing and extraction of fibers as an agricultural by-product, to obtain textiles, which can be used in the production of composites, preferably in combination with biopolymers. Other fields concern the mechanical and thermal characterization of these composites, in which a number of factors can have an effect, such as fiber treatment, geometry, and lay-up of fibers in the composites. Moreover, so far only a limited number of fibers has been experimented upon for these purposes, extracted mainly from the bast, fruit, or leaves of these plants. However, agricultural crops in a number of countries traditionally produce fibers, which can be used for engineering purposes once they have been properly optimized as far as their extraction and treatment is concerned and they have been arranged suitably. The issue also welcomes proposals for the use of fibers that so far have had no history of application in materials engineering, only in other fields, or are simply waste of another (e.g., food, textiles) productive system.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Carlo Santulli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fibers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • production of plant fiber composites
  • fiber treatment
  • mechanical properties of plant fiber composites
  • impact properties of plant fiber composites
  • use of fibers from agro-waste
  • fiber extraction
  • thermal characterisation of plant fibers

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Industrial Hemp Fibers: An Overview
Fibers 2019, 7(12), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7120106 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is one of the most available and widely produced bast fibers with high cellulose content. Interest in these fibers is warranted due to environmental protection challenges as well as their inherent properties such as low density, high [...] Read more.
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is one of the most available and widely produced bast fibers with high cellulose content. Interest in these fibers is warranted due to environmental protection challenges as well as their inherent properties such as low density, high specific strength, and stiffness. In addition, advanced research and progress have gone into increasing their mechanical performance through surface treatments and in the development of new materials. The most promising application for hemp fibers is as reinforcement in polymeric composites or through hybridization. Nonetheless, more research is needed to improve their properties and expand their range of applications. The biodegradability issue is one problem that must be addressed when considering long life-cycle applications as the reproducibility of these composites’ final properties. This review is a comprehensive literature review on hemp fibers. It includes hemp fibers’ chemical and mechanical properties, surface modifications, hybrid composites, as well as current and future applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermoplastic Starch Films Added with Dry Nopal (Opuntia Ficus Indica) Fibers
Fibers 2019, 7(11), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7110099 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Dry fibers coming from garden waste, originating from Opuntia ficus indica, were introduced in amounts of either 8 or 16 wt % into a self-produced thermoplastic starch (TPS) based on potato starch and glycerol. Thermal (differential scanning calorimetry, DSC), mechanical (tensile tests), [...] Read more.
Dry fibers coming from garden waste, originating from Opuntia ficus indica, were introduced in amounts of either 8 or 16 wt % into a self-produced thermoplastic starch (TPS) based on potato starch and glycerol. Thermal (differential scanning calorimetry, DSC), mechanical (tensile tests), and morphological characterization with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and performing energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (microanalysis) were carried out. The results indicated that the uneven distribution and variable geometry of fibers introduced led to a reduction of tensile stress and strain with respect to pure TPS. However, the positive effects of prolonged mixing and increased thickness were highlighted, which suggest the fabrication of the composite could be improved in the future by controlling the manufacturing procedure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of the Effects of the Cross-Head Speed and Temperature on the Mechanical Strength of Kenaf Bast Fibers Using Weibull and Monte-Carlo Statistics
Fibers 2019, 7(10), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7100089 - 11 Oct 2019
Abstract
Methods used by different researchers to evaluate plant fibers’ (PFs) mechanical performance, show great variance in results. In this work, 320 single kenaf fibers of gage lengths 10 and 20 mm were tensile-tested using four speed levels (0.05; 0.5; 1 and 5 mm·min [...] Read more.
Methods used by different researchers to evaluate plant fibers’ (PFs) mechanical performance, show great variance in results. In this work, 320 single kenaf fibers of gage lengths 10 and 20 mm were tensile-tested using four speed levels (0.05; 0.5; 1 and 5 mm·min−1). Sixty-three other specimens were also tested under three temperature levels (50, 100, and 150 °C). Mechanical characteristics, namely Young’s modulus, tensile strength, and failure strain were determined. Estimation of the dispersion on the data was performed using Weibull and Monte-Carlo statistics. Results showed a low scatter for cross-head speeds of 0.05, 0.5, and 1 mm·min−1, compared to 5 mm·min−1 for the two gage lengths used. Monte-Carlo average failure strength values were found to be close to the experimental values. A drastic drop in the tensile strength was observed for the temperature of 150 °C for varying hold times. The reported findings are likely to be used in the elaboration of a tensile test standard on PFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Assessment of Arundo donax Fibers for Oil Spill Recovery Applications
Fibers 2019, 7(9), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7090075 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In the last years, natural fibers are increasingly investigated as an oil recovery system in order to overcome the oil spillage phenomena, thus preserving environment and aquatic life. In particular, lignocellulose-based fibers have recently been employed with promising results. In such a context, [...] Read more.
In the last years, natural fibers are increasingly investigated as an oil recovery system in order to overcome the oil spillage phenomena, thus preserving environment and aquatic life. In particular, lignocellulose-based fibers have recently been employed with promising results. In such a context, the aim of this paper is to assess the oil sorption capability of natural fibers extracted from the stem of the giant reed Arundo donax L., a perennial rhizomatous grass belonging to the Poaceae family that grows naturally all around the world thanks to its ability to tolerate different climatic conditions. Sorption tests in several pollutants and water as a reference were carried out. The fibers have absorption capacities that are about five to six times their weight. Depending on the high absorption kinetics, possible applicative interests can be identified. Eventually, depending on the fiber size, adsorption properties were related to the microstructure and morphology of Arundo donax fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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Open AccessArticle
Corn and Rice Starch-Based Bio-Plastics as Alternative Packaging Materials
Fibers 2019, 7(4), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7040032 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 22
Abstract
Due to the negative environmental impacts of synthetic plastics, the development of biodegradable plastics for both industrial and commercial applications is essential today. Researchers have developed various starch-based composites for different applications. The present work investigates the corn and rice starch-based bioplastics for [...] Read more.
Due to the negative environmental impacts of synthetic plastics, the development of biodegradable plastics for both industrial and commercial applications is essential today. Researchers have developed various starch-based composites for different applications. The present work investigates the corn and rice starch-based bioplastics for packaging applications. Various samples of bioplastics are produced, with different compositions of corn and rice starch, glycerol, citric acid, and gelatin. The tensile properties were improved after adding rice starch. However, water absorption and water solubility were reduced. On the basis of these results, the best sample was analyzed for thickness testing, biodegradability properties, SEM, hydrophilicity, thermogravimetric analysis, and sealing properties of bioplastic. The results show the suitability of rice and corn-based thermoplastic starch for packaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Structural Features, Modification, and Functionalities of Beta-Glucan
Fibers 2020, 8(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib8010001 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Β-glucan is a strongly hydrophilic non-starchy polysaccharide, which, when incorporated in food, is renowned for its ability to alter functional characteristics such as viscosity, rheology, texture, and sensory properties of the food product. The functional properties of β-glucans are directly linked to their [...] Read more.
Β-glucan is a strongly hydrophilic non-starchy polysaccharide, which, when incorporated in food, is renowned for its ability to alter functional characteristics such as viscosity, rheology, texture, and sensory properties of the food product. The functional properties of β-glucans are directly linked to their origin/source, molecular weight, and structural features. The molecular weight and structural/conformational features are in turn influenced by method of extraction and modification of the β-glucan. For example, whereas physical modification techniques influence only the spatial structures, modification by chemical agents, enzyme hydrolysis, mechanical treatment, and irradiation affect both spatial conformation and primary structures of β-glucan. Consequently, β-glucan can be modified (via one or more of the aforementioned techniques) into forms that have desired morphological, rheological, and (bio)functional properties. This review describes how various modification techniques affect the structure, properties, and applications of β-glucans in the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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Open AccessReview
Plant Fibers and Phenolics: A Review on Their Synthesis, Analysis and Combined Use for Biomaterials with New Properties
Fibers 2019, 7(9), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7090080 - 31 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Devising environmental-friendly processes in biotechnology is a priority in the current economic scenario. We are witnessing a constant and steady push towards finding sustainable solutions to societal challenges by promoting innovation-driven activities minimizing the environmental impact and valorizing natural resources. In bioeconomy, plants [...] Read more.
Devising environmental-friendly processes in biotechnology is a priority in the current economic scenario. We are witnessing a constant and steady push towards finding sustainable solutions to societal challenges by promoting innovation-driven activities minimizing the environmental impact and valorizing natural resources. In bioeconomy, plants are among the most important renewable sources of both fibers (woody and cellulosic) and phytochemicals, which find applications in many industrial sectors, spanning from the textile, to the biocomposite, medical, nutraceutical, and pharma sectors. Given the key role of plants as natural sources of (macro)molecules, we here provide a compendium on the use of plant fibers functionalized/impregnated with phytochemicals (in particular phenolic extracts). The goal is to review the various applications of natural fibers functionalized with plant phenolics and to valorize those plants that are source of both fibers and phytochemicals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fibers)
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