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Material characterisation for natural fibres: compressibility, permeability and friction

Keller J. H. George ORCID logo , Aly Ahmed , Andrew N. Hrymak and M. Hesham El Naggar EMAIL logo


Although fibrous suspensions are finding increasing use in many applications, holistic studies investigating their material properties are essentially non-existent due to a lack of simple and reliable measurement techniques. To address this, geotechnical techniques have been considered for the characterisation of an extruded suspension of poplar fibres. Use of such characterization techniques was thought suitable since the extruded fibres share many physical similarities with fibrous peats, and since both materials are primarily derived from plants. In the present study, oedometer and direct shear tests were employed to evaluate the compressibility, permeability and friction properties of poplar fibres. Triplicates of each test were carried out for two differently prepared poplar fibres at several different initial water contents. All measurements were found to be in good agreement with the values typical of fibrous peats, justifying direct cross-over of geotechnical techniques as an alternative method for characterising and modelling fibrous suspensions in manufacturing applications.

Award Identifier / Grant number: CRDPJ 458990 - 13

Funding statement: This study was financially supported by Greenfield Global Inc. and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) (CRDPJ 458990 - 13).


The authors would like to thank Greenfield Global Inc. and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for their financial support. Additionally, the authors would like to thank Greenfield Global Inc. for facilitating this research by providing the materials required for testing. Lastly, the authors would like to acknowledge Biotron (Western University) for their assistance with the microscopy techniques.

  1. Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Received: 2019-09-26
Accepted: 2020-03-11
Published Online: 2020-04-04
Published in Print: 2020-06-25

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