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Kraft Paper

Abaca Fiber (Manila Hemp)

Abaca Fiber:

Abaca is a bust fiber. The abaca fiber is extracted from the stalk of the plant. Abaca is also known as Manila hemp. It is a Musasea family plant native to Asia and planted in humid areas including in the Philippines and East of Indonesia. Abaca fibres are extensively used to produce ropes, woven fabrics, tea bags, etc. It is also called biodegradable and sustainable fiber. Abaca is considered the strongest of natural fibres, being three times stronger than sisal fibre, and is far more resistant to saltwater decomposition than most of the vegetable fibres. Compared to synthetic fibres like rayon and nylon, abaca fibre possesses higher tensile strength and lower elongation in both wet and dry states. The Philippines is the world’s largest source and supplier of abaca fibre for cordage and pulp for specialist paper. It supplies 85% of the needed abaca fiber around the globe.

 

Chemical Composition of Abaca Fiber:

Parameter
Percentage (%)
Cellulose
76.6%
Hemicellulose
14.6%
Lignin
8.4%
Pectin
0.3%
Wax and fat
0.1%

Manufacturing Process of Abaca:
Abaca fibres are processed is a similar manner to sisal and other hard fibres, although the fibres do show a little more elasticity.

Identification of Abaca:
Although potentially diffi cult to distinguish from sisal on a slide mount, abaca has many characteristics that help to identify it. Its ultimates have a uniform diameter and a waxy appearance; often it is darker than sisal; also they are polygonal in cross-section and vary in size. Abaca may present spiral elements but often will have stegmata which are visible as small crown-like structures. Abaca, like sisal, has a counter-clockwise twist. Ropes, cordage and floor mats are typical sources of abaca.

Uses/Application of Abaca Fiber:
Abaca is a versatile plant with several uses. Because its fibers are particularly resistant to saltwater, abaca has been commonly used for fishing nets. Abaca fibre is used mainly in the production of tea bags and meat casings; it is also a substitute for bark, which was once a primary source of cloth. In addition, it is considered an excellent raw material in the processing of security and high quality paper, diapers, napkins, machinery filters, hospital textiles (aprons, caps, gloves), and electrical conduction cables, as well as some 200 other different finished products.

Fibres are removed from the abaca’s stalk to make ropes, clothing, paper-based materials, filter cloths, tea and coffee bags, disposable fabrics, reinforcement fibers for plaster, lighter weight woven fabrics mostly of an artisanal type, and other handicrafts. The cordage market is decreasing owing to competition from synthetic fibers. These plants thrive well in shaded and cool habitats and resemble the banana plant in many respects.

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