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.

Automation of Natural Fibre Properties Analyses

With increasing interest in the use of natural fibres, quality characterization is needed to provide benchmarks and uniform standards in order to use the abundance of natural fibre products in niche and higher value markets. Natural fibres are inexpensive, biodegradable and leave no waste, and are sustainable and readily available throughout Canada. By utilizing natural fibres in various industries, farmers can potentially gain a second source of revenue stream from their crops of selling both the seed and straw and furthermore, a lower carbon footprint can be achieved.

Testing of Fibre Properties for their Biomedical Applicability

Natural fibres have been used in many industry sectors such as automobiles, aerospace, construction, etc., but their use in the biomedical industry is relatively new. The major obstacle to their use is the lack of information on relevant fibre properties. This project focuses on testing three critical properties: antimicrobial properties, antioxidant properties, and water sorption in flax, hemp, canola, and sweet clover fibres. Testing these properties will be a stepping stone for proving the applicability of natural fibres in biomedical applications.