Optimizing Natural Fibre Quality for Industrial Applications
Natural fibres are abundant in Canada and have the potential to be used in a wide variety of biocomposites and industrial bioproducts. In order to develop a thriving biomaterials sector, the quality and consistency of this vast resource must be continually assessed and monitored to ensure a quality product can be delivered to end-users on a consistent basis. However, variations in climatic growth conditions, seed variety and agronomic practices can lead to annual variations in natural fibre properties making it challenging to provide a reliable and consistent supply for industrial applications. The Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) through its FibreCITY (FC) initiative is working with industry to address some of the key issues of fibre retting, fibre processing and seed variety as they relate to optimizing natural fibre quality for industrial biocomposite applications. The interns and their supervising faculty mentors will assist the CIC-FC in understanding some of the fundamental research questions that underlie natural fibre quality as well as understanding the economics behind developing a fibre industry from crops traditionally grown for seed and food sources.