Structure and Properties of Sisal Fiber:
Strand of commercial sisal is 60 to 120cm in length. They are strong and consist of many individual fibers held together by natural gums. If processing has been carried out carefully, the sisal is creamy white in color. Sisal fiber tends to be stiff and rather inflexible. It absorbs moisture readily and is weakened by being steeped for long periods in salt water.
There are a number of different types of cell in a typical specimen of sisal. The normal fiber cells are straight and stiff. They are cylindrical and often striated. The average length is about 2.5mm. These fibers sometimes appear saw-edged and have tapering ends. The lumen varies in thickness and definition; the cell walls are thick where the lumen is thin and vice versa. The lumen is often packed with tiny granules.
Sisal also contains broader fibers with a characteristic lattice pattern and with small pore markings. Some cells are cushion shaped and others are short and rectangular. Here and there, small spiral shaped bodies can be seen like little springs. Sisal contains about 6 per cent of lignin (based on dry material).
Uses of Sisal Fiber:
Sisal is one of the most valuable of all cordage fibers. It is too stiff to be used satisfactory for certain purposes such as power transmission in which it has to run through pulleys or over wheels. Prior to world war second, sisal ropes were regarded as being of limited use in marine cordage. It was believed that sisal deteriorated too rapidly in small water. Experience during the war showed, however that this is not the case and sisal is now widely used for marine ropes and hawsers particularly in under developed areas.
Sisal is used extensively for making baler and binder twine and for sacks, paper filters and other industrial uses. The height strength, luster and good color of sisal have made it into an attractive fiber for certain textile uses.it is made into matting and rugs. Its ability to take up direct cotton and acid dye stuffs has made it a popular fiber or ladies hats.