Environmentally valuable composites would be made by replacing synthetic fibers with various types of natural cellulose fibers. The most significant factor in finding good fiber reinforcement in the composite is the strength of the bond between matrix polymer and fiber. Due to the presence of hydroxide and other polar groups in various constituents of natural fiber, the moisture absorption is high which leads to poor wettability and weak interfacial bonding between fibers and the more hydrophobic matrices. Therefore, it is necessary to impart hydrophobic nature to the natural fibers by suitable chemical treatments in order to develop composites with better mechanical properties. In the present work, the effect of esterification on moisture absorption of single abaca fiber has been investigated. It was observed that the esterification process drastically reduced the moisture uptake of fibers. Acrylic acid treated abaca fiber showed about 32.87, 32.53, 50.76 and 39.01% lower moisture absorption than untreated fiber in pond water, river water, borewell water and sea water respectively.
Natural fiber, Moisture absorption, Chemical treatment, Abaca fiber, Acrylic acid, Pond water