How Properties of Kenaf Fibers from Burkina Faso Contribute to the Reinforcement of Earth Blocks

Y. Millogo, J. E. Aubert, E. Hamard, Jean-Claude Morel

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    Physicochemical characteristics of Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf) fibers from Burkina Faso were studied using X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared spectroscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), chemical analysis and video microscopy. Kenaf fibers (3 cm long) were used to reinforce earth blocks, and the mechanical properties of reinforced blocks, with fiber contents ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 wt%, were investigated. The fibers were mainly composed of cellulose type I (70.4 wt%), hemicelluloses (18.9 wt%) and lignin (3 wt%) and were characterized by high tensile strength (1 ± 0.25 GPa) and Young’s modulus (136 ± 25 GPa), linked to their high cellulose content. The incorporation of short fibers of kenaf reduced the propagation of cracks in the blocks, through the good adherence of fibers to the clay matrix, and therefore improved their mechanical properties. Fiber incorporation was particularly beneficial for the bending strength of earth blocks because it reinforces these blocks after the failure of soil matrix observed for unreinforced blocks. Blocks reinforced with such fibers had a ductile tensile behavior that made them better building materials for masonry structures than unreinforced blocks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2332-2345
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2015

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    • kenaf fibers
    • Earth blocks
    • physicochemical characteristics
    • mechanical properties
    • Burkina Faso


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