Bast Fiber

What are Bast Fibers?

Natural Bast Fibers are strong, cellulosic fibers obtained from the phloem or outer bark of jute, kenaf, flax and hemp plants. They are annually renewable crops, growing in 90 to 100 days. The fiber is around the outside of the plant and comprises one-third of the weight. The center (core) resembles balsa wood and has many uses, including animal bedding and oil absorbants. In India and Bangladesh, it is mostly used as firewood.

Unlike synthetic fibers, bast fibers are made up of bundles of fibers. These bundles are broken down mechanically or chemically to achieve the fineness required. The degree of this breakdown, in turn, dictates their end use.

Why Use Bast Fibers?

Bast fibers were used as reinforcement fibers for thousands of years before petrochemical fibers were developed .For many products in today’s markets, natural fibers continue to offer key advantages over synthetics and fiberglass.

  • High strength/weight ratio for composite reinforcement

  • Different fineness possible, giving varying aspect ratios

  • Can be cut to any specified length

  • Being cellulosic, they do not melt or shrink in FR fabrics.

  • Exceptional acoustical properties

  • Excellent insulating properties

  • Relative price stability

  • Cost-effective – Half the price of synthetics

  • With a specific gravity of 1.4, they are an excellent substitute for fiberglass (specific gravity of 2.6).

One of our key fibers, Jute, is the second-largest vegetable fiber after cotton. Globally, 7 billion pounds of Jute and Kenaf fibers are produced annually, largely from India and Bangladesh. This availability is another reason why natural bast fibers are a viable alternative to petrochemical fibers.

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