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Natural Coir Fibre

Belonging to one of the oldest plant families, the coconut palm is found throughout the tropics. It is the widest grown palm in the world and provides everything needed to sustain life. This palm has a single 20-30 metre tall trunk, and can live up to 100 years, producing 70 to 100 coconuts per annum. Indonesia, Philippines, India and Sri Lanka are the major producers of coconut and it is one of the main sources of income for these countries. Different parts of coconut tree is being used for making door mats, floor coverings, furniture, charcoal, composites and various garden articles, besides food and drink. Coir fibres are extracted from the husk of coconut fruit. The extracted fibre is spun and the yarn is woven on looms to make various coir products, which are eco-friendly and biodegradable, due to the distinctive properties of coir fibre.

Coir Fibre...

The mesocarp tissue, or husk of the coconut fruit contains 20% to 30% fibre of varying length. The fibres are extracted by grinding the husk. Being tough and naturally resistant to seawater, the coir fibre protects the fruit enough to survive months and contains all the other nutrients for the seed to grow. These characteristics make the fibers quite useful in outdoor mats, floor coverings, garden articles, aquarium filters, ropes, etc. There are two types of Coir Fibre. White Fibre and Brown Fibre.

White Fibre...

White Fibre is made through a process called Retting by suspending the immature husks in a river or water-filled pit for 8-10 months. During this process, micro organisms break down the plant tissues surrounding the fiber to loosen them. The husk is then beaten by hand or using defibering machines to separate out the long fibers, which are subsequently dried and cleaned. Cleaned fibre is ready for spinning into yarn using a spinning wheel or one-handed system and the yarn is used for making various products like ropes, mats, mattings etc.

Brown Fibre...

Brown Fibre is obtained by soaking the fully matured coconut husks in pits filled with water for 3 to 5 days and then beaten up manually or by defibering machine. The long bristle fibers are separated from the shorter fibers by wet-milling. The fiber is elastic enough to twist 2 without breaking. Brown fibre is mainly used for making rubberised mattresses,brushes and garden articles.

Properties of Coir...

Coir is stronger than any other natural fibre and absorbs water up to 200% without any expansion in volume. It is a versatile natural fibre made up of threads of diameter 10 to 20 micrometres and less than 1.3 mm in length. It acts as a dehumidifier, retaining up to 15% moisture on its weight in it under high Relative Humidity conditions. By absorption on its surface, it can retain heavy gases like sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide, making the living room air fresh. Coir is flame-retardant and not easily combustible and also provides excellent insulation against temperature and sound. Lignin and Cellulose are the major constituents of coir. Fibre contains 45% lignin,
which makes the it hardest among the natural fibres. It is also durable and bio-degradable, mothproof, resistant to fungi, rot and hence coir products have got multifarious industrial applications.

Applications Of Coir Fibre...

Due to the peculiar characteristics of coir fibre it has got broad applications in various fields including agriculture and soil conservation.

Coir Yarn...

Coir Yarn is generally of 2 ply, spun from coir fibre by hand as well as with the help of spinning machines or traditional Ratts. The Coir yarn is of different grades based on the quality of fibre used, the nature of twist, presence of impurities etc., and is available in different forms like pressed bales, spools, etc. for various industrial and agricultural applications.

Coir Mats...

Coir mats are made on handlooms, power looms and with or without brush. Fibre mats, Creel mats, Rod mats, Carnatic mats are the different types of mats commonly manufactured. Fibre Mats are known for its compact brush, Creel mats for thin brush and Rod mats for thick brush. Coir mats are available with woven or stenciled designs for use as doormats. Latex backing is done to make non-slip mats.

Coir Mattings...

Coir Mattings are made on traditional handlooms or powerlooms and is available in a number of designs and patterns made by weave and colour combinations. It is mainly used as floor coverings and floor runners for furnishing corridors and also used for ceiling and wall paneling.

Coir Geo-Textiles...

Coir geotextile is bio-degradable and eco-friendly and is the natural solution to large scale soil erosion and soil degradation. Coir geotextiles have very high tensile strength, water absorption capabilities and ability to break up run off top soil. Coir retains moisture for long time and it also promotes new vegetation by absorbing water and by preventing the topsoil from drying out. Coir geotextile provides soil support for 4 to 5 years for natural vegetation to establish. It is also used for river bank protection, road construction and land reclamation. Coir mesh mattings, Coir needle felts and Coco logs are the major kinds of Geotextiles.

Coir Pith...

Pith is the material that binds the coconut fibre in the husk. So far considered as a problematic waste, Coir Pith also called Coco-peat, has now acquired high demand for its use as a soil conditioner and plant nutrient and an effective medium for plant growth. It is an effective soil conditioner and is commonly used as sans-soil medium for growing plants and used as a substitute for Peat Moss. Pith can hold 8 to 10 times water by weight and is used as potting mixture in plant nursery to save on water, which is one of the major costs in the nursery. Coir pith enhances the nutrient carrying capacity of plants and it is ideal for growing anthuriums and orchids due to its moisture retention properties. Coir pith can be converted into organic manure (C-pom) by a simple technology developed by the Coir Board. Composted Coir pith serves as an
economical and high organic carbon source for the maintenance of organic matter contents of the soil and finds ample applications in Organic Farming.

Garden Articles...

All most all the products required for gardening can be made out of Coir fibre. Coco pot, poles, hanging baskets, etc., are commonly used in gardening, replacing plastic which is causing lot of environmental problems. Coconut husk chips are also widely used in horticultural applications.

Coir Composites...

Coir composites are now being extensively used as a wood substitute due to its high specific strength, stiffness and durability. Coir composites are eco-friendly, termite resistance and also cost-effective. Coir composites are used for making roofing sheets, furniture, trays, doors, windows, packing box.
Coir Fibre is biodegradable, eco-friendly and has got excellent chemical and physical properties which makes it suitable for multifarious applications. Coir fibre is the hardest natural fibre and also the only fibre which is resistant to salt water. Coir geotextile is the natural solution to soil erosion and soil degradation and Coir Pith is used as soil conditioner and an effective medium for plant growth. Coir composite is well accepted as a wood substitute which in turn can
reduce the pace deforestation to a great extent.

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