Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 25–33 | Cite as

Chemical Treatments of Natural Fiber for Use in Natural Fiber-Reinforced Composites: A Review

  • Xue Li
  • Lope G. Tabil
  • Satyanarayan Panigrahi
Review Paper


Studies on the use of natural fibers as replacement to man-made fiber in fiber-reinforced composites have increased and opened up further industrial possibilities. Natural fibers have the advantages of low density, low cost, and biodegradability. However, the main disadvantages of natural fibers in composites are the poor compatibility between fiber and matrix and the relative high moisture sorption. Therefore, chemical treatments are considered in modifying the fiber surface properties.

In this paper, the different chemical modifications on natural fibers for use in natural fiber-reinforced composites are reviewed. Chemical treatments including alkali, silane, acetylation, benzoylation, acrylation, maleated coupling agents, isocyanates, permanganate and others are discussed. The chemical treatment of fiber aimed at improving the adhesion between the fiber surface and the polymer matrix may not only modify the fiber surface but also increase fiber strength. Water absorption of composites is reduced and their mechanical properties are improved.


Fiber-reinforced composites Natural fiber Chemical modifications Chemical coupling agents Surface treatments 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Saskatchewan Flax Development Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xue Li
    • 1
  • Lope G. Tabil
    • 1
  • Satyanarayan Panigrahi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Bioresource EngineeringUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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