Optimisation of Graft Copolymerisation of Fibres from Banana Trunk
Sheets from banana trunks were opened out and dried for several weeks in air. Pulp was obtained by the nitric acid process with a yield of 37.7% while fibres were obtained according to the modified standard Japanese method for cellulose in wood for pulp (JIS 8007) with a yield of 65% with respect to oven dried plant material. Single fibre obtained by the JIS method had an average diameter of 11.0 μm and Young's modulus, tensile strength and strain at break-off 7.05 GPa, 81.7 MPa and 5.2% respectively. Modification of the fibres was carried out by grafting ethyl acrylate in the presence of ammonium nitrate cerium(IV). Optimisation of the copolymerisation reaction conditions was studied by measuring the rate of conversion, the rate of grafting and the grafting efficiency. The results showed that at low values of ceric ion concentration (0.04 M), at ambient temperature, after three hours and at a concentration of 0.2 M ethyl acrylate, maximum values of the parameters cited were obtained.