Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #227050

Title: Preparation of Flax Shive and Processing Waste for Use in Biocomposites

item Holser, Ronald
item Rigsby, Luanne - Lowe

Submitted to: Flax Institute Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2008
Publication Date: 7/21/2008
Citation: Holser, R.A., Rigsby, L.L., Annis, P., Knopp, J. 2008. Preparation of Flax Shive and Processing Waste for Use in Biocomposites. Flax Institute Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Processing waste produced by a commercial flax fiber cleaning operation was used to reinforce a biobased polymer. The processing waste consisted of small pieces of flax fiber and flax cuticle particles that were collected in the air handling filters at the processing facility. This material was combined with glycerol and a diacid to produce a biocomposite or fiber reinforced plastic. The biocomposite prepared with the fiber processing waste was significantly tougher and stronger than the polymer without any fiber material. These results demonstrated a potential application for fiber processing waste that currently has no market value. It is notable that the waste material could be used directly in the polymer without additional treatment or processing to provide an economical approach to improve the physical properties of the polymer matrix.

Technical Abstract: Composite materials were prepared by combining waste fractions generated during flax fiber cleaning operations with a biobased polymer matrix. The waste fractions contained fragments of cuticle and the associated surface lipids. These lipids included long chain waxes and fatty alcohols that are considered potential co-products. The solids that remain after extraction of the lipids were evaluated for use in biocomposite materials. The % strain, peak load, and modulus of biocomposites prepared with extracted and unextracted waste fractions were measured. These results were related to the amount of solids added to the polymer and the proportion of shive in the solids. Critical evaluation of these parameters can help predict the most economical preparation of fiber processing waste and shive for use in composite materials. Keywords: biobased, composite, fiber, flax, polymer, shive