What is Pineapple Leaf Fibre?
Pineapple leaf fibre (PALF), also known as Piña, is a natural and sustainable textile material that is obtained from the leaves of the pineapple plant. Piña fibre is a plant fibre is commonly found in the Philippines. The fibre is extracted through a process called decortication, where the long fibres are separated from the leaves and then processed into a material that can be used in various textile applications.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus), a perennial plant, is a member of Bromeliaceae family. It is mainly cultivated for their fruits, a production that is prospected to reach 31 million tones worldwide by 2028 with an average increase of 1.9%.
PALF is sometimes combined with silk or polyester to create a textile fabric. The end fabric is lightweight, easy to care for and has an elegant appearance similar to linen piña comes from the leaves of the pineapple plant. Each strand of the hand scrapped piña fibre is knotted one by one to form a continuous filament for hand weaving into the ‘piña cloth’.
The piña fibre is softer, has a high lustre and is usually white or ivory in colour. Piña fiber is a strong and durable material with a shiny, silky texture, which makes it suitable for use in clothing, accessories, and home textiles. It is also a sustainable alternative to traditional textiles, as it is produced using agricultural waste and does not require any additional resources to grow or produce.
Piña fibre has a long history in the Philippines, where it has been used for centuries to create traditional textiles such as the Barong Tagalog, a formal shirt worn by Filipino men. After cutting the leaves, their surface is scrapped, The fibres from inside are gently pulled out. The strands of fibres are again hand scraped and are converted into a long con-tinuous strand. Then follows an industrial process of converting the strand into a suitable and useful textile product. The general look of the fabric made from fibres resembles canvas and can be dyed, printed and also treated to develop different textures. The strength and fineness are nicely combined to make a typical fabric – ‘Barong Tagalog’. The fibre is also used for making table spreads and mats. The fabric is usually lightweight but stiff and normally gives leather-like appearance, and hence is used in making small purses, bags or even shoes.
Properties and Characteristics of Pineapple Leaf Fibre:
Here are some of the key characteristics of pineapple leaf fibre:
1. Strength and durability: Piña fibre is a strong and durable material, which means that it can withstand wear and tear over time. It is stronger than cotton and has a similar tensile strength to silk.
2. Lustrous appearance: Pineapple leaf fibre has a shiny, silky texture that gives it a lustrous appearance. This makes it an ideal material for creating garments and accessories with a luxurious look and feel.
3. Softness: Despite its strength, Piña fibre is also soft and comfortable to wear. It is not itchy or scratchy like some other natural fibres, making it a great choice for people with sensitive skin.
4. Eco-friendly: PALF is a sustainable and eco-friendly material, as it is made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, which are a byproduct of the fruit industry. This means that no additional resources are required to produce the fibre, and it helps to reduce waste.
5. Breathable: It is naturally breathable, which means that it allows air to circulate through the fabric. This makes it a great choice for warm weather clothing, as it helps to keep the wearer cool and comfortable.
6. Absorbent: Pineapple fibre is also absorbent, which means that it can wick moisture away from the skin. This makes it a great choice for activewear and other garments that need to be moisture-wicking.
Production Methods of Pineapple Leaf Fibre:
Scraping a pineapple leaf to reveal the fibres: Since piña is from a leaf, the leaf has to first be cut from the plant. Then the fibre is pulled or split away from the leaf. Most leaf fibres are long and somewhat stiff. Pineapple leaf fiber is produced through a process called decortication, which involves separating the long fibres from the leaves of the pineapple plant. The leaves are first harvested, cleaned, and sorted to remove impurities. They are then processed through a scutcher to separate the fibres, which are washed, dried, and combed to create a uniform texture. The resulting fibre can then be spun into yarn using either hand or machine spinning methods. Finally, the fibre can be bleached and dyed to create a range of colors and finishes depending on the desired application. While the production of Piña fibre is still largely done by hand, advances in technology have made it possible to automate some of the steps to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
A major use for piña fabric is in the creation of the Barong Tagalog and other formal wear that is common in the Philippines. It is also used for other table linens, bags, mats and other clothing items, or anytime that a lightweight, but stiff and sheer fabric is needed.
Application or Uses of Pina Fiber:
Piña fibre, has a range of applications in the textile industry. Here are some of the common applications of Piña fibre:
a) Clothing: Piña fibre is often used to create clothing, including dresses, shirts, skirts, and jackets. The lustrous and soft texture of the fibre makes it ideal for creating high-end fashion garments.
b) Accessories: Pineapple fibre is also used to create accessories such as bags, hats, and shoes. The durability of the fibre makes it a great choice for accessories that need to withstand daily wear and tear.
c) Home textiles: PALF is also used in the production of home textiles such as curtains, tablecloths, and upholstery fabrics. The shiny and lustrous appearance of the fibre makes it a popular choice for creating elegant and stylish home decor items.
d) Paper: Piña fibre is also used in the production of high-quality paper, which is commonly used in the printing of banknotes, certificates, and other important documents.
e) Industrial applications: Pineapple leaf fibre can also be used in industrial applications, such as reinforcement in composites or as a reinforcing agent in rubber products.
f) Automotive industry: It can be used in the automotive industry to create lightweight and durable parts for cars and trucks. The fibre can be combined with a resin matrix to create composite materials that are strong and lightweight.
g) Construction industry: Pineapple fibre can also be used in the construction industry to create composite materials for building structures. The fibre can be combined with a polymer matrix to create composite panels that are strong, lightweight, and durable.
h) Aerospace industry: PALF can be used in the aerospace industry to create lightweight and strong parts for aircraft and spacecraft. The fibre can be combined with a resin matrix to create composite materials that are strong and lightweight, which can help to reduce the weight of the aircraft or spacecraft.
- Pineapple Leaf Fibers: Processing, Properties and Applications By Mohammad Jawaid, Mohammad Asim, Paridah Md. Tahir and Mohammed Nasir
- Plant Fibers, their Composites, and Applications Edited by Sanjay Mavinkere Rangappa
- Principles of Spinning: Fibres and Blow Room Cotton Processing in Spinning by Ashok R. Khare
- The Substrates – Fibres, Yarn and Fabric by Mathews Kolanjikombil
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