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Celis, R., Torres, M., Valenzuela, P., Ríos, R., Gacitúa, W., and Pesenti, H. (2014). "Characterizing cellulosic fibers from Ulex europaeus," BioRes. 9(4), 6968-6980

Abstract

Information on the morphological and physical properties of biofibers is necessary to support the mechanical understanding of the biological design of plants, as well as for the development of new technology that adds value to non-traditional bioresources, such as those based on Ulex europaeus fibers. Ulex europaeus fibers were extracted through a chemical pulping process at 170 °C and with 40 g/L NaOH. The dimensions of the fibers produced were 0.97 ± 0.1 mm in length and 13 ± 2 μm in diameter. Pressed fiber paper sheets were made to evaluate their mechanical properties. Burst and tear indices of 1.2 mN/kg and 8.6 Nm2/kg, respectively, were recorded. The values obtained did not compare well to fiber paper sheets from Pinus radiata, presumably due to the significant amount of non-structural elements of wood present in the samples and the lower length of Ulex europaeus fibers, which resulted in lower tensile strength. Additionally, nanoindentation tests were conducted to assess the hardness and elastic modulus of the fibers, obtaining average values of 0.84 GPa and 9.23 GPa for the stem, respectively. These values were significantly lower than those of industrial biofiber, perhaps due to the lower morphogenic maturity of Ulex europaeus fibers compared to other traditional sources of fiber.
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