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Fibers, Volume 9, Issue 9 (September 2021) – 5 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The effective use of waste wool by superheated water hydrolysis is a good example of sustainable technology. The biocomposite comprised of kraft pulp and hydrolyzed wool is totally eco-friendly, organic, compostable, and biodegradable, as is the wool modification process. The combination of a sustainable hydrolysis method and the use of waste wool/kraft pulp in the production of paper/biocomposite will open up new potential applications for waste wool in agricultural and packaging applications while minimizing environmental impact. View this paper.
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Article
Carboxymethyl Cellulose Enhanced Production of Cellulose Nanofibrils
Fibers 2021, 9(9), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fib9090057 - 13 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) were produced by high-pressure homogenization from kraft pulp in the presence of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) of varying molecular weights. CNF pretreated with 250 kD CMC exhibited the maximum specific surface area (SSA) of 641 m2/g, which is comparable [...] Read more.
Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) were produced by high-pressure homogenization from kraft pulp in the presence of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) of varying molecular weights. CNF pretreated with 250 kD CMC exhibited the maximum specific surface area (SSA) of 641 m2/g, which is comparable to that of CNF pretreated by 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-piperidinyl-1-oxyl (TEMPO)-meditated oxidation with a high degree of fibrillation. Rheological and microscopic analyses also indicated a high level of fibrillation for the CMC-pretreated CNF. In contrast, the reference CNF without the CMC pretreatment showed a lower level of fibrillation, which was reflected in decreased viscosity and the reduction of SSA by a factor of 19. With the high-degree fibrillation and low toxicity, the CMC pretreatment is a promising method for the production of high-quality CNF in an environmentally friendly way. Full article
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Article
Advanced Composite Retrofit of RC Columns and Frames with Prior Damages—Pseudodynamic Finite Element Analyses and Design Approaches
Fibers 2021, 9(9), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fib9090056 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 472
Abstract
This study develops three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) models of composite retrofits in deficient reinforced concrete (RC) columns and frames. The aim is to investigate critical cases of RC columns with inadequate lap splices of bars or corroded steel reinforcements and the beneficial [...] Read more.
This study develops three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) models of composite retrofits in deficient reinforced concrete (RC) columns and frames. The aim is to investigate critical cases of RC columns with inadequate lap splices of bars or corroded steel reinforcements and the beneficial effects of external FRP jacketing to avoid their premature failure and structural collapse. Similarly, the RC-frame FE models explore the effects of an innovative intervention that includes an orthoblock brick infill wall and an advanced seismic joint made of highly deformable polymer at the boundary interface with the RC frame. The experimental validation of the technique in RC frames is presented in earlier published papers by the authors (as well as for a four-column structure), revealing the potential to extend the contribution of the infills at high displacement ductility levels of the frames, while exhibiting limited infill damages. The analytical results of the advanced FE models of RC columns and frames compare well with the available experimental results. Therefore, this study’s research extends to critical cases of FE models of RC frames with inadequate lap splices or corroded steel reinforcements, without or with brick wall infills with seismic joints. The advanced pseudodynamic analyses reveal that for different reinforcement detailing of RC columns, the effects of inadequate lap-spliced bars may be more detrimental in isolated RC columns than in RC frames. It seems that in RC frames, additional critical regions without lap splices are engaged and redistribution of damage is observed. The detrimental effects of corroded steel bars are somewhat greater in bare RC frames than in isolated RC columns, as all reinforcements in the frame are considered corroded. Further, all critical cases of RC frames with prior damages at risk of collapse may receive the innovative composite retrofit and achieve higher base shear load than the original RC frame without corroded or lap-spliced bars, at comparable top displacement ductility. Finally, the FE analyses are utilized to propose modified design equations for the shear strength and chord rotation in cases of failure of columns with deficiencies or prior damages in RC structures. Full article
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Article
Sustainably Processed Waste Wool Fiber-Reinforced Biocomposites for Agriculture and Packaging Applications
Fibers 2021, 9(9), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fib9090055 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 492
Abstract
In the EU, sheep bred for dairy and meat purposes are of low quality, their economic value is not even enough to cover shearing costs, and their wool is generally seen as a useless by-product of sheep farming, resulting in large illegal disposal [...] Read more.
In the EU, sheep bred for dairy and meat purposes are of low quality, their economic value is not even enough to cover shearing costs, and their wool is generally seen as a useless by-product of sheep farming, resulting in large illegal disposal or landfilling. In order to minimize environmental and health-related problems considering elemental compositions of discarded materials such as waste wool, there is a need to recycle and reuse waste materials to develop sustainable innovative technologies and transformation processes to achieve sustainable manufacturing. This study aims to examine the application of waste wool in biocomposite production with the help of a sustainable hydrolysis process without any chemicals and binding material. The impact of superheated water hydrolysis and mixing hydrolyzed wool fibers with kraft pulp on the performance of biocomposite was investigated and characterized using SEM, FTIR, tensile strength, DSC, TGA, and soil burial testing in comparison with 100% kraft pulp biocomposite. The superheated water hydrolysis process increases the hydrophilicity and homogeneity and contributes to increasing the speed of biodegradation. The biocomposite is entirely self-supporting, provides primary nutrients for soil nourishment, and is observed to be completely biodegradable when buried in the soil within 90 days. Among temperatures tested for superheated water hydrolysis of raw wool, 150 °C seems to be the most appropriate for the biocomposite preparation regarding physicochemical properties of wool and suitability for wool mixing with cellulose. The combination of a sustainable hydrolysis process and the use of waste wool in manufacturing an eco-friendly, biodegradable paper/biocomposite will open new potential opportunities for the utilization of waste wool in agricultural and packaging applications and minimize environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Multiple Application for Novel and Advanced Materials)
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Article
Insight into the Effects of Solvent Treatment of Natural Fibers Prior to Structural Composite Casting: Chemical, Physical and Mechanical Evaluation
Fibers 2021, 9(9), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fib9090054 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 832
Abstract
This paper presents an optimized washing protocol for as-received natural fibers, prior to large-scale composite manufacturing, for the structural strengthening of historic masonry. The aim was to achieve a simple protocol for standard cleaning of fiber surfaces from low molecular weight constituents that [...] Read more.
This paper presents an optimized washing protocol for as-received natural fibers, prior to large-scale composite manufacturing, for the structural strengthening of historic masonry. The aim was to achieve a simple protocol for standard cleaning of fiber surfaces from low molecular weight constituents that may be detrimental towards interfacial strength without damaging the fibers. The proposed procedure employs the application of the solvent sequence: ethanol, acetone, hexane, with optimized incubation times and stirring conditions. Additionally, this procedure may change the surface of the fiber, thereby enhancing the durability of the fiber-matrix interface. The washing protocol resulted in an increase of tensile strength by 56%, 52% and 22% for flax, hemp and sisal fibers, respectively, as compared to the corresponding non-washed fibers, without loss of elongation. The static contact angle measurements confirmed exposure of a higher fraction of the hydrophilic crystalline cellulose, with a higher wettability observed after washing protocols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fibres in Construction: Mechanical Modelling and Characterisation)
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Article
Photosensitive Yb-Doped Germanophosphosilicate Artificial Rayleigh Fibers as a Base of Random Lasers
Fibers 2021, 9(9), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fib9090053 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Asingle-mode Yb-doped germanophosphosilicate fiber with ultra-low optical losses (less than 2 dB/km) was fabricated by means of the MCVD method utilizing an all-gas-phase deposition technique developed “in house”. The absorption and luminescent spectral properties of the fiber were thoroughly studied. The photosensitivity of [...] Read more.
Asingle-mode Yb-doped germanophosphosilicate fiber with ultra-low optical losses (less than 2 dB/km) was fabricated by means of the MCVD method utilizing an all-gas-phase deposition technique developed “in house”. The absorption and luminescent spectral properties of the fiber were thoroughly studied. The photosensitivity of the pristine (non-hydrogenated) fiber to 248 nm-laser radiation was confirmed by means of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) inscription directly during the drawing process. The random single-frequency lasing at the 1060-nm-wavelength obtained in the 21-m-long fiber with an array of weak FBG was reported. The developed laser slope efficiency in the backward-pumping scheme was measured as high as 32%. Full article
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