Expanding the commercial usage of KAPOK TREE FIBRE
Ceiba pentandra or Kapok tree as its mostly used common name may also refer to the cotton obtained from its seed pods. The pods contain seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre that is a mix of lignin and cellulose. The fibre is light, very buoyant, resilient, resistant to water and flammable. It is commonly used as filling in mattresses, pillows, upholstery and stuffed toys such as teddy bears.
UniKL researchers lead by Assoc. Prof. Ir. Abu Hanifah Abdullah has found potentially new commercial inventions using the raw material that is easily obtainable in Malaysia through exhaustive research which started from the idea of using the biodegradable materials from Kapok tree fibre for aircraft thermal and acoustic insulation blankets for aircraft cabins.
His team of "Malaysia on Mars" comprising of three students from UniKL Institute of Product Design and Manufacturing (IPROM) and the Kapok fibre research was officially announced as the Top 5 (finalist) entries from more than 2,600 entires worldwide and participated in the final round of International Airbus Fly Your Ideas Competition 2011 which was held at Paris Airshow-Le Bourget 2011.
"The recognition given by such a prestigious organization in a major event has spurred me to go more in depth in exploring Kapok fibre as a commercial commodity in the high-tech industries", said Abu Hanifah.