Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2002
Publication Date: 5/14/2002
Citation: Anthony, W.S. 2002. Separation of fiber from seed flax straw. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Volume 18(2): 227-233
Technical Abstract: Flax can be grown for either fiber, seed or both. All flax fibers used by the U.S. textile industry are imported from foreign countries. The seed flax stalk is usually considered a waste product but it can be separated into fiber and shive. The fiber can then be used for applications not requiring the long fiber from fiber flax such as composites and paper. The separation of fiber from fiber flax stalks is a rigorous and expensive process that requires the stalk to be biologically degraded (retted) before processing, and is not feasible for seed flax stalks. This study evaluated the effectiveness of cotton gin machinery in separating the fiber from the shive in the stalk. Machines known in the cotton industry as cylinder cleaners, impact cleaners, trashmasters, stick machines and saw-type lint cleaners were considered individually and in combination. The stalks were chopped into 5.1 cm (2 in.) lengths before they were processed through the machine treatments. The initial straw in this report contained about 20% fiber. Results of three separate studies involving over 25,000 kg (55,000 pounds) of stalks produced fiber contents ranging from 9.6 to 15.8%. The effectiveness of several combinations was about the same, but the most effective was three cylinder cleaners followed by one saw-type lint cleaner, which produced 13.7% fiber at 86.1% purity. The degree of retting is the single most important factor governing the mechanical separation of the fiber from the stalk.