Cellulose and Bast Fibers Upgrading

Catalytic Advanced Oxidation developed by Hydrogen Link finds unprecedented application in the treatment and upgrading of natural cellulosic fibers extracted from plants -a traditional textile source before the age of synthetics – such as hemp, flax, ramie, kenaf, jute etc.

Hemp is an extraordinary example of such fiber-bearing plants, representing the family of Bast Fibers, where the bast layer around the core of the stem contains strong cellulose fibers contributing to the structural reinforcement of the stem, while also providing water passages for the plant.

This is a cross-section of the hemp stem, with the outer bast (“skin”) layer that contains cellulose fibers, along with the gums, lignins and hemicellulose.  The next photograph shows “hemp ribbons” peeled from the stem .

The traditional methods of degumming of hemp or flax required elaborated and complicated treatment, which included prolonged “retting” – seasoning in the field in order to soften the lignins and better expose the fibers, followed by meticulous carding, cleaning and softening. The modern techniques try to replace the complicated, labor-intense treatment of the fibers by harsh chemicals – boiling in hot, concentrated alkali or acidic concoctions. The results are not only polluting the environment (and thus offsetting the advantages of the use of natural fibers) but usually also damage the cellulose and weaken the fibers because of the aggressive chemical treatment.

The method of Catalytic Advanced Oxidation revolutionizes the bast fiber upgrading by using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) combined with our Oxycatalyst to obtain clean, white natural cellulose fibers - through oxidative elimination of the non-cellulosic parts of the plant: lignins, gums, pectins, hemicellulose. This part of the upgrading process is usually called (“degumming”). Further treatment can refine the fibers even more – by separation the single cellulosic strands, which can even reach the softness and feel of cotton – which is called “cottonization”.

Hydrogen Peroxide is the most environmentally friendly chemical of all, because it decomposes into water and oxygen, without any other byproducts being added by H2O2. In combination with our unique catalyst, it is able however to fully upgrade - degum and cottonize all types of bast fibers. Moreover, our catalyst is heterogeneous (in a solid state) so it stays behind and can be reused. The process can be performed at neutral pH and at room temperature. It does not require expensive instrumentation such as stainless  steel autoclaves needed to withstand the commonly used aggressive chemicals at high temperature and pressure.

 Our Catalytic Advanced Oxidation process can be can be done in a simple bath, at room temperature and at neutral pH. The results are shown below on a variety of types of bast fibers.


Please contact us with your inquiries about our Oxycatalyst for Catalytic Advanced Oxidation at contact@hydrogenlink.com


HEMP

Upgrading of hemp with Catalytic Advanced Oxidation may be done starting from any form of the bast material - unretted or retted, peeled or decorticated, or even the whole stems directly from the field, without seasoning or retting.

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Processing of Hemp Stems

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Catalyzed Advanced Oxidation developed by Hydrogen Link allows processing  of the whole stems of hemp at room temperature and at neutral pH.

The result is clean hurd and fully cottonized, lignin-free hemp fiber.


Cottonized Hemp Fibers under Microscope

Processing of hemp by Catalytic Advanced Oxidation can be carried out upto the required softness vs. strength level. Single cellulosic strands of hemp can be achieved if needed.

The following pictures show microscopic views of the single strands of hemp in comparison with human hair (in front of the fibers) - left micrograph. The right micrograph shows a comparison between cotton fibers (in the lower part of the photograph) and the fully cottonized hemp fibers (upper part).

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RAMIE

Catalyzed Advanced Oxidation developed by Hydrogen Link is exceptionally effective in the degumming and cottonization of ramie fiber. Ramie - a traditional "China grass" fiber - is rather difficult to upgrade because of relatively large amounts of lignins, gums, pectins and hemicellulose that need to be removed in the process. However, the method of Catalyzed Advanced Oxidation (which uses exclusively hydrogen peroxide H2O2 and our Oxycatalyst, without any harsh or polluting chemicals) gives  extraordinary results in the quality of the degummed and cottonized ramie. The fibers after Hydrogen Link processing reveal the unique nature of ramie, exhibiting exquisite silk-like softness and lustre.

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FLAX  LINEN

Amongst the natural traditionall fibers, flax has been always valued for its textile qualities. Catalytic Advanced Oxidation (with Hydrogen Link Oxycatalyst combined with hydrogen prooxide) takes the degumming and cottonization of flax even further - towards full removal of lignins and gums and a clean whiteness.  All types of flax material can be fully processes - unretted or retted, peeled or mechanically decorticated. Moreover, all varieties of flax plant are suitable - textile or seed plants.

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BANANA FIBER

Catalytic Advanced Oxidation with hydrogen peroxide and Oxycatalyst is very efficient in the degumming and upgrading of the banana fibers. As shown below, banana fibers before upgrading contain a significant amount of lignin and gums, which are clearly visible in the microscope micrograph of the untreated fibers. After the processing, the fibers are clean, white and without the impurities on the cellulosic surface, as seen on the further photographs.

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Please contact us with your inquiries about our Oxycatalyst for Catalytic Advanced Oxidation at contact@hydrogenlink.com


Natural Precursors for Carbon Fibers 

Natural bast fibers can represent an ecological source for the Carbon Fibers processing, if they can be earlier perfectly degummed and cottonized. Catalytic Advanced Oxidation developed by Hydrogen Link can provide such high quality of cellulose strands, which  may become ultra thin carbon fiber precursors. The micrographs below show carbon fiber precursors obtained from hemp  cellulose fiber after full degumming and cottonization.  The right picture shows for comparison a human hair in front of the fibers.

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Hemp cord -  twine degummed and cottonized with catalyzed hydrogen peroxide

            

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Cotton bleaching with hydrogen peroxide

Cotton twine bleached by catalyzed hydrogen peroxide

 


Hemp fibres

Hemp fibre upgrading with catalyzed hydrogen peroxide


Bleaching and upgrading jute fibres

Jute fibre bleaching and upgrading


Sisal (agave) fibers bleaching and upgrading

Natural fibers (sisal) refining by advanced oxidation with catalytic decomposition of H2O2

 


Please contact us with inquires related to  our catalyst for Catalytic Advanced Oxidation at contact@hydrogenlink.com


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