Functionalised kapok fibre for kitchen cleaning and healthcare
Kapok fibre which is a natural silky fibre that clothe the seeds of the Kapok tree. It contains the speciality in oil absorption and is completely biodegradable. Therefore research projects of students from Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineer, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, aim to develop to add value and advantage for kapok fibre. The first project is Super Clean Sponge: Oily-Utensil Cleaning Material by Chutipon Limniwatkul, Jirattikan Dangdoung, Puwanut Rattanasathien and Thanakarn Chantrakiri. The second project is NViro Pad: Biodegradable Cosmetic Pad by Chatchai Klomkaew, Thanathon Phuakvisuthi, Pariwat Boonyathai and Wuthisith Kijkriengkrai
Both projects attended The 3rd World Invention Innovation Contest (WiC 2017) at Seoul, South Korea. Super Clean Sponge won the Gold Medal, WIA special award and TISIAS Special Award. Meanwhile NViro Pad won Gold Medal and KINEWS special award.
“Kapok fibre is hydrophobic (water-repellent) because the fibres are coated with a thin layer of natural wax that contains a substance that prevents insects and other pests. Our team did research by peeling wax off of the fibre and coated with contrast media and surfactant, therefore the fibre is not only water-repellent but contains also oil absorption ability,” said Chutipon. “There are 2 types for this experimented fibre. First is the utensil cleaning sheet and the second is oil absorbing sheet. 20 grams Super Clean Sponge can absorb 50 times of its weight. Furthermore, we can clean utensils without cleaning detergent by wiping with Super Clean Sponge and rise with warm water. Therefore this product is the answer to save water. For the oil which are absorbed can be easy to clean. We can use this sponge more than 10 times which means that it can absorb 10 liters oil. The oil can be further the ingredient to reuse as biodiesel.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Thidarat Bunsri, project’s adviser from Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineer, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi said “Kapok fibre is the balance of softness and resilience, It suits to clean sensitive skin. Because of its moisture retention ability, we can reduce the amount of cleansing lotion, tonner or anti-biotic solution. Moreover, it is reusable by only wash with boiled water. It will be dried within 30 minutes after washing. Once again, it is completely biodegradable.”
“Beyond student’s project, we aim to build a learning society. This society contains 3 groups, first is the teacher who teach and do researches for now innovations, next is the entrepreneur who invest and produce the research product to be used in real life and the last group is student who study and work on research for useful innovative product and get their job after graduation,” said Asst. Prof. Dr. Thidarat
“Project study is the educational integration and social integration because the word Environmental Engineering does not concern only on engineering or environment but we work also with the community and agriculture field. We can combine and develop every part to launch the product that solve global issue, kapok oil absorbing fibre for the leaked fuel in the sea or compostable diapers for instant.”