What is Kapok Fiber?
Kapok is a natural, cellulosic fiber. It is obtained from the seed hairs of kapok trees (Ceiba Pentandra). Kapok is also called silk cotton or java cotton. It is smooth, lightweight, unicellular, cylindrically shaped, hollow body, and very buoyant, and twist less fiber. But it quickly breaks down. Kapok fibers on its own are not suitable for spinning into yarn. Because it is very smooth, slippery and brittle. Therefore, fiber is difficult to spin into yarns.
The specialty of the kapok fiber is its yellowish color or light-brown with a silk-like luster. In contrast to the cotton fiber, the kapok fiber has single-celled plant hairs. This fiber is conventionally used as stuffing for insulation against sound and heat, and for bedding, life preservers, and other water safety equipment, sowing to its hollow air-filled lumen and high void content. Because of its excellent buoyancy. Due to having some unique features, kapok fiber-based materials have created areas of opportunities in the various application fields.
Kapok fibers are homogenous circular cross sections with wide air-filled lumen. Air filled lumen has wall thickness about 1-2μm. As a result, its cell wall is thin and covered with a thick layer of wax. Kapok fibers are found transparent with characteristic air bubbles in the lumen by the microscope observation. The cross section of kapok fibers is oval to round.
Kapok harvesting process requires a lot of manpower. Every step is done mostly by hand. The processing of kapok starts with:
Harvesting, Removing Hulls, Drying, Bailing, Packing
All process are described briefly:
Harvesting: The ripe unopened pods are normally harvested by knocking them off the tree. But it can also be cut from the tree or harvested when it falls to the ground.
Removing hulls: Kapok fiber is left in sunlight for drying of hulls. The fruits are hulled and seed and fibers are removed from the pods by hand.
Removing seeds: The seeds lie loose in the floss and, with the help of some beating they fall to the bottom of the container where they are easily separated.
Drying: Kapok fiber is dried under the sun for 3 -5 hours to complete drying.
Bailing and packing: Kapok fibers are then packed in the form of bales and dispatched for further processing.
Component of Kapok
Cellulose: 64%Pentose: 23%Lignin: 13%
Light Weight.Hydrophobic and the good buoyancy effect.Thermal insulator.Biodegradable, etc.
The fibers are fragile and break easily.Irritant to lungs and needs extra care during work.Not suitable for weaving or spinning.Highly inflammable, etc.
Mattress or Pillow stuffing.Life-saving equipment.Yachts and boats furnishing, insulating materials in refrigeration systems.Construction of thermally insulated and sound proof covers and walls.Substitute cotton in surgery.By products such as Kapok seed oil, and so on.
Apparel Textiles: Once kapok fiber was considered unfit for textile fabrics. However, the weave-ability of kapok can be enhanced by blending with other fibers. Kapok fabric has met the basic requirements on apparel textiles, showing better performance than cotton fabric in some features such as: air permeability, durability, warmth retention, especially the warmth retention of plain-woven kapok fabric.Acoustical Material: Noise pollution is the excessive noise which borrows heavy damage and great stress on the activity and balance of humans. Consequently, it is very important to develop economical and eco-friendly acoustical materials to control the noise pollution. Special structure of kapok is beneficial to the sound absorption. Because kapok fiber has large lumen and thin cell walls, it increases the chance of friction between sound waves and fibers. Consequently, kapok fiber has excellent acoustical damping performance.Oil-Absorbing Materials: Over the production, storage, and transportation of oils are always possible risks of oil spillage. Oil spills often result in immediate and long-term environmental damage. To minimize environmental issues some oil spill remediation products have been developed for the cleanup and recovery of oil spills. But this synthetic material will present serious environmental issues due to their non-biodegradable characteristics. Kapok fiber is a natural, inexpensive, hydrophobic–oleophilic agricultural product. It is considered to be a better alternative to the widely used synthetic materials. Kapok fiber exhibits high hydrophobic–oleophilic characteristics. This intrinsic nature makes kapok a high oil retentional fiber.Reinforcement Material: Kapok fibers are renewable sources that have attracted much attention in recent years. It has rich cellulose and is cheap in price. As a result, kapok have shown potential application as reinforcements to thermoset and thermoplastic polymer matrices.Pulping and Papermaking: Kapok fiber can be a quality pulp source for papermaking. The water repellency of the sheets can improve by mixing kapok pulp with the commercial pulps. It has received special attention in packaging paper requiring strength and water repellency. It can be said that kapok will be a sustainable element of paper making.Kapok-Derived Biofuel: Today, biofuels have attracted the most attention for its potential renewable characteristics. Kapok fiber has a potential resource of production of second-generation bioethanol.Other Applications: Kapok fiber, an abundant natural plant fiber. It has been used widely for various industrial fields. It is nonresistant to spark or flame. It can be used in production flame retardant fabric.Kapok fiber specs
Kapok seed oil is a vegetable oil that is extracted from kapok seeds by pressing. The seeds are black having the shape of a capsule. The oil has a yellow color and pleasant, mild odor and taste. It has similar characteristics to cottonseed oil. It becomes rancid quickly when exposed to air. Kapok oil is produced in Indonesia, India and Malaysia. It has an iodine value of 85-100, which makes it non drying oil. This means that it does not dry out significantly when exposed to the air. Kapok oil is usually used as a material to produce soap and some potential as a biofuel and in paint preparation.Kapok seed specs
- Max moisture : 10%
- Max impurity : 3%
- Packing : 25-30 kg/bale
- Color : Natural white yellowish
- Capacity : 12 - 15 MT/month
- Shipping : FOB
- Origin : Indonesia
- Max moisture : 10%
- Packing : 40-50 kg/bags
- Capacity : 8 - 10 MT/month
- Shipping : FOB
- Origin : Indonesia