A technology for making substitutes for wood from natural fibres like coir and jute for making furniture has been developed in Kerala, an official said.
A natural fibre polymer composite christened “Polycor” developed here by the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), a composites laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is very suitable as a substitute for wood-based or alternative products.
The process for making it utilises coir fibre as well as other natural fibres like banana and jute.
CSIR-NIIST has been a pioneer in the research of natural fibre composites for more than two decades. The said natural fibre composites are thermo-set mouldable.
The CSIR in a statement issued here, said an MoU will be signed Wednesday between Kerala Furniture Consortium Pvt. Ltd. (KFCPL) and NIIST for commercializing NIIST technology for making wood-substitute from natural fibre composites.
The KFCPL is one of the seven clusters of India benchmarked by the National Innovation Council, under the chairmanship of Sam Pitroda which is dedicated to develop patented alternate substitutes for the deficient rainforest hardwood, as part of its stringent environment policy.
It is also a common facility centre (CFC) to pursue seasoning, designing, standardisation, testing and finishing rubber woods for manufacturing furniture.
According to Suresh Das, director, CSIR-NIIST, there is great potential for employing many unutilised or underutilised lingo-cellulosic fibres for making composite material.
“The material can be engineered as per requirement and it possesses several unique properties like fire, termite and water resistant. Surface properties as well as physical and mechanical attributes may be fine tuned as per requirement,” said Das.
According to the MoU, the coir composite developed by CSIR-NIIST will be adopted by KFCPL as a raw material to be used as an alternative substitute for hardwood.
Further technical development required for commercialization of fibre composites will be undertaken jointly between CSIR-NIIST and KFCPL.
The composite will be converted by KFCPL into unique design formats of furniture and accessories on market requirements.
K.P. Raveendran, managing director of KFCPL said that they would bring out a range of knockdown furniture series by the end of this year (IANS).