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 Jute Reinforced Composite Technology




Events Update Jute Composite: Technology & Business Opportunities


Diversification of Jute Fibres

 Sangeeta Nangia & Soumitra Biswas


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  Jute Based Handicrafts & Novelties   Jute is an attractive natural fibre for use as reinforcement in composite because of its low cost, renewable nature and much lower energy requirement for processing. The scope for using jute fibres in place of the traditional glass fibres in different forms partly or fully as reinforcing agents incomposites stems from the higher specific modulus and lower specific gravity of jute (~ 40 Pa and 1.29 respectively) compared with those of glass(~ 30 GPa and 2.5 respectively).
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The major drawback of natural fibre reinforced composites is due to its affinity for moisture. Many experimental studies have shown that compatible coupling agents are capable of either slowing down or preventing the de- bonding process and hence moisture absorption even under severe environmental conditions, such as exposure to boiling water. Jute fibres/fabrics can be modified chemically through graft co-polymerisation and through incorporation of different resin systems by different approaches. 


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Natural fibre composites enjoy excellent potential as wood substitutes in building industry in view of their low cost, easy availability, saving in energy and pollution free production. In order to improve upon the laboratory-industry linkages towards application development & commercialisation, the Advanced Composites Mission launched the projects on jute composites such as 'Jute-Coir Composites Boards’, 'Jute-glass composite components for railway coaches’, ' Thermoplastic composites based synthetic wood’ and others.




The composite technology of a polymeric matrix reinforced with man- made fibres such as glass, Kevlar, carbon etc. has come of age especially with the advances in aerospace applications since 1950s. The developments in composite material after meeting the challenges of aerospace sector have cascaded down for catering to domestic and industrial applications. Composites, the wonder material with light-weight, high strength-to-weight ratio and stiffness properties have come a long way in replacing the conventional materials like metals, woods etc. The material scientists all over the world focused their attention on natural composites reinforced with jute, sisal, coir, pineapple etc. primarily to cut down the cost of raw materials.


Eastern India has been bestowed with abundant cultivation of jute. The production of processed jute fibre in India has touched 1.44 million tonnes in 1998-99. Jute as a natural fibre has been traditionally used for making twines, ropes, cords, as packaging material in sacks & gunny bags, as carpet-backing and, more recently, as a geo-textile material.


But, lately, a major share of its market has been eroded by the advent of synthetic materials, specially polypropylene. In order to save the crop from extinction and to ensure a reasonable return to the farmers, non-traditional outlets have to be explored for the fibre. One such avenue is in the area of fibre-reinforced composites. Such composites can be used as a substitute for timber as well as in a number of less demanding applications.


Jute fibre due to its adequate tensile strength and good specific modulus enjoys the right potential for usage in composites. Jute composites can thus ensure a very effective and value-added application avenue for the natural fibre. Interest in using natural fibres as reinforcement in polymer matrices and also in certain applications as partial replacement of glass fibres has grown significantly in recent years for making low cost composite building materials. Thus, new alternative materials have emerged that could partially meet the demands of conventional materials especially wood in buildings. 




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