Hydrophobic treatment for jute fibres based on zinc oxide nanoparticles

M.A. Arfaoui, P.I. Dolez, M. Dubé, É. David
CTT Group,

Keywords: ZnO, nanorods, jute fibre


The use of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles in the textile sector has been the subject of several studies aimed at making fibrous materials multifunctional and more resistant. This could open a wide range of new opportunities for jute fibres, which are already used as packaging for cotton and coffee or as a building material. For example, applying ZnO nanoparticles to natural fibres can make them superhydrophobic. This can be done by combining a nanoscale surface roughness with a hydrophobic treatment. This treatment may improve the jute fibre compatibility with hydrophobic matrices generally used for composite manufacturing. Therefore, this work aims at developing a hydrophobic treatment for jute fibres based on the grafting and growth of ZnO nanorods on the fibre surface. The first step consists in removing impurities from the fibre surface by a scouring treatment. In the second step, the jute fibres are coated with a layer of ZnO nano-seeds. A hydrothermal process is carried out as the third step to ensure a uniform growth of ZnO nanorods on the surface of the jute fibres. Finally, a hydrophobic treatment is applied on ZnO nanorod-covered jute fibres using a fatty acid. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that the jute fibre surface remains smooth until step 2. From the third step onwards, the surface became rough due to the growth of the ZnO nanorods. The scouring treatment applied initially helped obtaining a uniform nanoparticle coating on the fibre surface. X-ray diffraction analysis also revealed that ZnO crystals grow along their c-axis on the jute fibre surface and have a hexagonal shape. Thermogravimetric analysis showed that the ZnO nanorods grafted on the surface of the jute fibres improved slightly their thermal resistance. The measurement also allowed assessing the quantity of ZnO nano-seeds deposited and of ZnO nanorods grafted on the jute fibre surface. This study demontrates the possibility of producing hydrophobic jute fibres using ZnO nanorods and a fatty acid. It is a fast and ecological treatment that could be applied industrially.