Microwave assisted retting - A novel method ofprocessing of flax stems

Gopu Raveendran Nair, Denis Rho, Varoujan Yaylayan, Vijaya Raghavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new method for retting of flax stem was introduced by using microwave energy. The combined effect of pre-soaking, microwave volumetric heating and the non-thermal effect of microwave energy were applied in the retting of flax stem. Effective retting was observed in various combinations of pre-soaking, Microwave treatment times and microwave energy. The samples soaked for 24 and 36h with microwave treatments of 20min showed better retting efficiency. Fried tests, Near Infrared analysis and fibre diameter analysis were done to find out the retting efficiency. The effect of non-thermal effect of microwave in flax retting was proved experimentally. Colourimetric tests and tensile strength tests were conducted to compare the quality of fibres after microwave retting and no significant changes in the physical qualities were observed. The water released after pre-soaking was not contaminated because of less microbial activity in short duration of the entire process. In industrial point of view, this method is acceptable because of the ease of recyclability of the pre-soaked water and comparably short duration of the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-435
Number of pages9
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science

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