Laminated products are used universally in the manufacture of furniture, kitchen cabinets, fixtures, wall-coverings, displays, and various other products. Laminates are usually made of two layers, the underlayer or substrate and a decorative upper layer, made of vinyl, polyester, melamine, etc., that is bonded to the substrate. These substrates can be made of many different types of natural or synthetic fibers. Kenaf’s mechanical properties makes it an excellent fiber-source for nonwoven textile materials. Kenaf nonwoven substrates can be used in wall-coverings, upholstery covers, edge banding materials and other laminates. The purpose of this study is to show the feasibility of making nonwoven textiles with kenaf fibers that can be used in laminated products. Therefore, kenaf fibers were blended with polypropylene at a ratio of 80:20, and batts were prepared using a modified cotton card in regular widths. The batts were either calendered or needlepunched and cured in an oven to make the substrates. These substrates were then laminated with various kinds of overlays such as polyester wood grain, phenolic resin impregnated kraft paper, and decorative vinyl.

Introduction

Mechanically processed kenaf bast fibers are being used for grass mats and erosion mats, which have been successfully commercialized (Fisher, 1993; Tao et al., 1998). Kenaf is presently being used in making paper on a very limited basis. Many of the recent work have focused on devel- oping products, and subsequently markets, from the separated kenaf bast and core fibers. Various uses for the bast fibers have been explored, such as, industrial socks to absorb oil spills (Goforth, 1994), woven (Ramaswamy et al., 1995a,b) and nonwoven textiles (De Guzman et al., 1982; Ramaswamy et al., 1994b). Kenaf core fibers have also found applications in products such as, animal bedding, summer forage, and potting media.

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