Table of Contents
Conference Papers in Materials Science
Volume 2013, Article ID 878014, 7 pages
Conference Paper

Microstructural Characterization of Natural Fibers: Etlingera elatior, Costus comosus, and Heliconia bihai

Materials Engineering Department, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 225 Gãvea, 22451-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 1 August 2013; Accepted 8 September 2013

Academic Editors: R. Fangueiro and H. Hong

This Conference Paper is based on a presentation given by José R. M. d'Almeida at “International Conference on Natural Fibers—Sustainable Materials for Advanced Applications 2013” held from 9 June 2013 to 11 June 2013 in Guimarães, Portugal.

Copyright © 2013 Cláudia I. T. Navarro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This work describes the structural and morphological characteristics of fibers obtained from the stem of three ornamental plants, namely, Etlingera elatior, Costus comosus, and Heliconia bihai. The stems of these plants are long and nowadays do not have any use, being disregarded. The results obtained showed that the three fibers have a crystalline index of around 58% and are thermally stable to approximately 230°C, 240°C, and 255°C for E. elatior, C. comosus, and H. bihai, respectively. The fibers present an average humidity amount of less than 9% and the thermal degradation peak for the cellulose component varies from 358°C for E. elatior to 379°C for C. comosus. The morphological analysis showed that the fibers present a large variability of the shape of their cross-sections, which are preferentially elongated. These morphological characteristics were used to estimate the error made when one considers the fibers having a circular cross-section.