Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Polymer Engineering and Science 49:11 (2009), pp. 2212–2217; doi: 10.1002/pen.21469 Copyright © 2009 Society of Plastics Engineers; Published by John Wiley Inc. Used by permission.


Natural cellulose fibers with cellulose content, strength, and elongation higher than that of milkweed floss and between that of cotton and linen have been obtained from the stems of common milkweed plants. Although milkweed floss is a unique natural cellulose fiber with low density, the short length and low elongation make milkweed floss unsuitable as a textile fiber. The possibility of using the stems of milkweed plant as a source for natural cellulose fibers was explored in this research. Natural cellulose fibers extracted from milkweed stems have been characterized for their composition, structure, and properties. Fibers obtained from milkweed stems have about 75% cellulose, higher than the cellulose in milkweed floss but lower than that in cotton and linen. Milkweed stem fibers have low % crystallinity when compared with cotton and linen but the strength of the fibers is similar to cotton and elongation is higher than that of linen fibers.