Chemical treatments can remove waxes and sugar components from the surface of bio-fibres, increasing their compatibility with mineral binders. This paper investigates the effects of alkali solutions treatments on miscanthus shives. For 8, 24, and 48 h, fibres were immersed in NaOH solutions at 1.5, 2.5, and 5.0% concentrations, with and without a 2.5% sodium silicate solution, having a silica modulus (SiO2/Na2O) of 2.0. SEM and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) were used to investigate the effect of different treatments on the microstructure and surface chemistry of miscanthus. The SEM results show that the morphologies of miscanthus fibres were significantly altered in the case of 5.0% NaOH treatment, with a weakening of the inner cell structures in some locations. Furthermore, the ATR-FTIR patterns of raw and treated shives were analysed, suggesting that treating miscanthus with 2.5% NaOH and 2.5% sodium silicate results in the required chemical modifications while retaining the cellular structure of miscanthus fibres. For all treatments, the absorbance was reduced by 31 to 77% at 450 cm−1 and 48–80% at 1035 cm−1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100182
JournalCleaner Materials
Early online date28 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by a NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership studentship from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) [NE/R011621/1].

Data availability The research data supporting this publication are available as supplementary information accompanying this publication.


  • Alkali-treatment
  • Bio-based materials
  • FTIR technique
  • Microstructure
  • Miscanthus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Polymers and Plastics


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