Fiber Materials / Alfa Chemistry
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Plant Fiber

Plant fibers refer to fibers obtained from natural plants, such as cotton, jute, flax, and so on. Alfa Chemistry offers a wide range of plant fiber products, not only for the traditional textile industry, but also for composite materials.

Main Chemical Composition


  • Cellulose
    Cellulose is a linear polymer of glucose, and its typical structure is shown in the figure. Cellulose, which is composed of thousands of glucose units, can be stacked to form crystalline forms with intramolecular hydrogen bonds, providing stable, hydrophobic polymers with high tensile strength.
  • Hemicellulose
    Hemicellulose is a collective name for a group of extremely heterogeneous polysaccharides that vary in composition and structure and depend on their origin. It is not linear and is associated with pectin, cellulose and aromatic components within plant cell walls. Usually, for research purposes, xylans are used as a representative of hemicellulose.
  • Pectin
    Pectin, like hemicellulose, is a group of substances associated with cell walls and natural fibers.
  • Lignin And Aromatic Compounds
    Lignin is the second most abundant substance in plants and is responsible for strength, rigidity and protection of cell walls from microbial pathogens. The aromatic ring structure is the main chemical constituent of lignin and other aromatic hydrocarbons.

Lignin And Aromatic Compounds

Common Category

Common plant fiber categories include cotton, kapok, jute, flax, hemp, sisal, bamboo, coir, and more.


  • Mechanical Properties
    The mechanical property parameters of several plant fibers are summarized in the table below and compared with common synthetic fibers. Compared to synthetic fibers, plant fibers have much lower mechanical properties, but they have very good specific mechanical properties and are extremely attractive in applications requiring light weight. [1]

Mechanical Properties

  • Hydrophilicity
    Plant fibers are hydrophilic because of the presence of functional groups such as hydroxyl groups in their structure. The moisture absorption ability of plant fibers mainly depends on its chemical composition and crystallinity. The table below lists the moisture absorption of some selected plant fibers.



  • Textile
    As we all know, plant fibers have a wide range of applications in the textile field. For example, soft and fluffy cotton fibers are favored by people in clothing and various daily textiles.
  • Architecture
    The use of plant fibers in the civil construction industry is growing rapidly due to the advantages of low cost, light weight, better specific mechanical properties, low health hazards and good environmental benefits. For example, Shama Parveen et al. discussed the effect of plant fibers on the microstructure and physical and mechanical properties of cement-based composites, and summarized the application of plant fibers in civil construction. [1]
  • Biomedical
    Natural plant fibers have a high strength-to-weight ratio, non-corrosiveness, high fracture toughness, reproducibility and sustainability, which give them unique advantages over other materials. Plant fibers are frequently used to make biocomposites such as flax, jute, sisal, hemp, and kenaf, which have potential in biomedical applications such as drug/gene delivery, tissue engineering, etc.


  1. Shama Parveen, et al. Sustainable and Nonconventional Construction Materials using Inorganic Bonded Fiber Composites, 2017, 343-382.

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