Abaca Fiber | Properties and Uses | Manila Hemp Fiber The Stricker

Abaca Fiber | Properties and Uses

Abaca is a bust fiber. The fiber is extracted from the stalk of the plant. Abaca is also known as Manila hemp. It is a Musasea family plant native to Asia and planted in humid areas including in the Philippines and East of Indonesia. Abaca fibers are extensively used to produce ropes, woven fabrics, tea bags, etc. It is also called biodegradable and sustainable fiber.

Chemical Composition of Abaca Fiber:


Percentage (%)
Cellulose 76.6%
Hemicellulose 14.6%
Lignin 8.4%
Pectin 0.3%
Wax and fat


Uses and Application of Abaca Fiber

Abaca is a versatile plant with several uses. Because its fibers are particularly resistant to saltwater, abaca has been commonly used for fishing nets. Abaca fiber is used mainly in the production of tea bags and meat casings; it is also a substitute for bark, which was once a primary source of cloth. In addition, it is considered an excellent raw material in the processing of security and high-quality paper, diapers, napkins, machinery filters, hospital textiles (aprons, caps, gloves), and electrical conduction cables, as well as some 200 other different finished products.

Fibers are removed from the abaca’s stalk to make ropes, clothing, paper-based materials, filter cloths, tea and coffee bags, disposable fabrics, reinforcement fibers for plaster, lighter weight weaved fabrics mostly of an artisanal type, and other handicrafts. The cordage market is decreasing owing to competition from synthetic fibers. These plants thrive well in shaded and cool habitats and resemble the banana plant in many respects.

Identification :

Although potentially difficult to distinguish from sisal on a slide mount, abaca (Musa textilis) has many characteristics that help to identify it. Its ultimates have a uniform diameter and a waxy appearance; often it is darker than sisal; also they are polygonal in cross-section and vary in size. Abaca may present spiral elements but often will have stigmata that are visible as small crown-like structures. Abaca, like sisal, has a counter-clockwise twist. Ropes, cordage, and floor mats are typical sources of abaca.


The characterization result of abaca fiber showed the abaca fiber has the potential to develop as alternative material based on chemical, physical and thermal properties. The high cellulose content of abaca fiber indicated this fiber can be applied in wide sectors, such as composite, pulp, paper, filler, textile, and others. SEM image showed the fiber has micron size. The thermal analysis showed the Abaca fiber has high stability thermal around 3710C.

Reference: Textile Learner

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