Centre of Excellence (CoE)
Application of Coir Exclusively or in Combination with other Natural Fibres


  • Design, Analysis and Development of Advanced Machineries for Coir-based Product Development

    Prof. R. Gnanamoorthy and Dr. C. Gurunathan

    The modernization of the coir industry is necessary to attract entrepreneurs and meet the growing demand for coir products worldwide. Developing the compact and energy-efficient version of machinery used in the geotextile industry is one of the agenda for the coir sector. Expanding the coir product development using advanced manufacturing processes like additive manufacturing is also essential to produce new products. Geotextiles are permeable and flexible member used in geotechnical applications. The geotextiles are made in the woven and non-woven form. The former is used primarily for base reinforcement, soil stabilization and separation and is produced by weaving the warp and weft yarns. The latter is predominantly used for drainage and lining systems and is produced by various methods other than weaving. Road construction and erosion control are the most significant segments of the geotextiles market. The increase in infrastructure development activities in multiple countries increases the need to manufacture the geotextiles in large quantities. The Anugraha Tejas loom, developed by Coir Board, is robust in design and can produce a 1m width coir geotextile. Various small-scale industries use this existing machine. However, there is a demand in the user sector for an efficient and compact unit. The geotechnical application also demands a 2m wide geotextile. This project aims to design and develop compact, and energ -efficient geotextile power looms.

    In addition to meeting the current demands, the coir industry must look into futuristic product design and development activities. Additive manufacturing is one of the emerging technologies for manufacturing complex-shaped parts with specific properties for various applications. However, every 3D printer is specifically developed to handle a particular type of material. Therefore, there is a scope to create a 3D printer specific to handle coir-based materials that can widen the scope of coir-based material for industrial applications. This project is towards designing and developing a 3D printing machine to manufacture coir-based parts for industrial application.
  • Field Demonstration & Standardization of Coir Geotextiles for Erosion Control & Reinforcement Applications

    Prof. Subhadeep Banerjee, K. Rajagopal, Prof. A. Veeraragavan, Prof. D. N. Arnepalli, Dr. V. B. Maji, Dr. Ramesh Kannan, K., Dr. Chandrasekhar Annavarapu and Dr. Tarun Naskar

    Land use dynamics and climate change are responsible for most of the failures of the slopes and land degradation. Erosion increases water movement in slopes and silting in rivers. This indirectly enhances the food insecurity and risk of landslides and floods. Recently, coir fibres are widely recognised for their suitability to protect severe erosion in many parts of the world. The coir geotextiles / mats provide short- term erosion resistance and promote plant growth for long-term erosion control. CoE focuses on improving the quality of products and developing the field specific guidelines to minimize erosion.

    The coir geotextiles have excellent potential for several infrastructure projects, especially to meet the reinforcement and separation in roads. Unlike polymeric geotextiles, the application of coir fibres is an eco- friendly and economical solution. In addition, coir geotextiles help to reduce the need for natural resources for the construction of layers of road structure and embankments. CoE develops the site and project specific guidelines for efficient use of coir geotextiles in various infrastructure projects.
  • Studies on Durability and Strength Enhancement of Coir Fibre

    Prof. D. N. Arnepalli and Dr. Ramesh Kannan, K.

    The growing environmental awareness and consequent efforts to replace synthetic materials with eco-friendly alternatives opened new markets for the coir products in the last few decades. At the same time, the expansion of the potential application spectra introduces new challenges in engineering the material to suit the specific needs. One major factor is the exposure of coir fibres to diverse environmental conditions. For instance, the incorporation of the material in concrete composites can introduce highly alkaline environment, whereas UV weathering and biological degradation are the growing concern during the deployment of coir geotextiles for erosion control. With this in view, the proposed research aims at understanding the degradation mechanisms of coir fibres under different environmental conditions and to arrive at suitable techniques to engineer the material for enhancing their service to befit various civil engineering applications.
  • Investigations on Enhancing the Fire Retardation of Coir Products

    Prof. D. N. Arnepalli and Prof. Rajakumar, B.

    Coir fibre and rubberized coir have been increasingly deployed in recent times for cushioning applications. However, sufficient fire retardancy should be imparted for the composite to increase the industrial application of the material. The current study is aimed at proposing suitable treatment technique to meet the required fire retardancy for coir fibres and rubberized coir for cushioning and other construction applications. As biochar appears to be a promising material for imparting the fire retardancy, the suitability of coir pith derived biochar will be explored in the study. Developing adequate fire retardancy to coir may widen the scope of the application areas of coir products and help to reduce the dependence on synthetic cushioning materials. The study will enhance the present understanding of surface charge characteristics of coir fibre. Also, the research findings will benefit the investigations related to the surface coatings for coir fibre, thereby providing valuable insights in developing various treatment techniques for strength and durability enhancement.
  • Framework for Optimizing and Enhancing the Performance of Concrete Pavements using Natural Coir Fibres (CoirCon)

    Dr. Surender Singh, Prof. Ravindra Gettu, and Dr. Ramesh Kannan K.

    Concrete pavements are superior to bituminous roads mainly due to their lower life-cycle cost and higher serviceability. The only drawbacks associated with rigid pavements are their higher initial construction cost and longer curing periods; 28 days of water curing is required post one day of its construction. However, it has been widely seen that small cracks start appearing in the concrete pavements immediately after their construction. This distress is commonly known as plastic shrinkage cracks and occurs predominately due to evaporation of mixing water. It has been widely acknowledged that the use of synthetic fibres may arrest these cracks. The use of metallic fibres may even enhance the post-failure load-carrying capacity of pavements. However, these fibres are expensive and may lead to a further increase in the initial construction cost of concrete roads. In this project, an attempt will be made to explore the potential of coir fibres to arrest the plastic shrinkage cracks when used for rural concrete (CoirCon) roads. Also, its impact on other functional and structural performance of concrete pavements will be studied through extensive laboratory as well as field investigations. Since coir fibres may have inherent characteristics that may impact the concrete properties and thus, the ways in which the coir properties could be improved will be explored in detail. It is expected that at the end of the project a methodology for effective preparation of coir fibres for specific utilization in concrete pavements could be furnished. Also, efforts would be made to furnish guidelines and protocols for the construction of CoirCon roads at the end of this project.