Long bast fibers obtained from the stems of linden plants, Corchorus capsularis (white jute) or Corchorus olitorius (Tossa jute). Jute probably originated in the Mediterranean region and was taken to India and southeast Asia where it flourished. Jute has been used by man since prehistoric times. The pale brown fibers are soft, lustrous, and coarse ranging in length from 4 to 10 feet. Microscopically, the fibers exhibit irregular, long cells with a visible lumen. Jute is composed of cellulose (69%), lignin (18-20%) with some uronic anhydride (4.5%). The brittle fibers are used to produce a thread called hessian. Jute becomes so weak when wet that a thin twine can be broken by hand. It turns brown and degrades with time, sunlight, water, acids, alkalis and bleach. Jute is used to make sackcloth, burlap cloth, gunny sacks, twine, paper, and carpet backing. It was also used to make brown paper in Europe in the mid-19th century.
Synonyms and Related Terms
Corchorus capsularis; Tossa jute; white jute; Indian jute; hessian; Bengal hemp; Calcutta hemp; allyott; juta (It., Port.); Huang-ma (Chin.); Jutefaser (Deut.)
Combustible. Poor resistance to sunlight, microorganisms and insects. Deteriorates rapidly when wet.
Physical and Chemical Properties
Resistant to alkalis and dilute acids. Degraded by concentrated acids.
Fiber length = 1.5-3.0 m; Fiber width = 7-18 microns; cross section = polygonal with 5 or 6 sides. Moisture regain = 13.75%; Elongation = 1.7% (dry); Striations tend to be fine and often stop in the middle of the fiber; Fibers often are found in bundles.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- D. Catling, J. Grayson, Identification of Vegetable Fibres, Archetype Publications, London, 1998.
- G.Cook, Handbook of Textile Fibres:I. Natural Fibres, 5th edition, Merrow Publishing Co., Durham, England, 1984.
- T.Collings, D. Miller, 'The Identification of Oriental Paper Fibers' The Paper Conservator, vol 3, 1978.