Evidence-based research had shown that elevated alkali treatment of pineapple leaf fiber (PALF) compromised the mechanical properties of the fiber. In this work, PALF was subjected to differential alkali concentrations: 1, 3, 6, and 9% wt/wt to study the influence on the mechanical and crystal properties of the fiber. The crystalline and mechanical properties of untreated and alkali-treated PALF samples were investigated by X-ray diffractometry (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and tensile testing analysis. The XRD results indicated that crystal properties of the fibers were modified with 6% wt/wt alkali-treated PALF recording the highest crystallinity and crystallite size of 76% and 24 nm, respectively. The FTIR spectra suggested that all alkali-treated PALF samples underwent lignin and hemicellulose removal to varying degrees. An increase in the crystalline properties improved the mechanical properties of the PALF treated with alkali at 6% wt/wt, which has the highest tensile strength (1620 MPa). Although the elevated alkali treatment resulted in decreased mechanical properties of PALF, crystallinity generally increased. The findings revealed that the mechanical properties of PALF not only improve with increasing crystallinity and crystallite size, but are also dependent on the intermediate bond between adjacent cellulose chains.
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