Local researchers develop jute-made substitute for CI sheet
The maximum use of jute could be ensured in the country through large-scale commercial production of environment friendly substitute for traditional corrugated iron (CI) sheets, reports UNB.
JUTIN, a corrugated sheet made of jute hessian cloth and formulated solution of polymer materials, has been developed by a research group of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) under the supervision of Dr Mubarak Ahmad Khan, Chief Scientific Officer, Radiation and Polymer Chemistry Laboratory.
“JUTIN can be used as an alternative of the available metal based corrugated sheets,” Dr Mubarak told the news agency while speaking about the bright prospect of the product.
Dr Mubarak said that after the invention of artificial fibres, jute, a natural fibre known as the golden fibre of Bangladesh, as well as jute-made goods were lagging behind in competition in international market.
“The farmers are now not getting enough encouragement to cultivate jute – mostly for lack of quality jute seeds and fair price. This necessitated increase of scientific and modern usage of jute apart from the traditional usage”, he added.
Dr Mubarak said, “JUTIN – a composite product – can be used as a substitute of CI sheet. Many developed countries are already using jute and other natural fibres as composite material in making motor vehicles and as bodies of aeroplane”.
He said that JUTIN was not biodegradable, but it would not cause any harm to environment, as do products such as plastic and polythene.
As saline water causes rust to CI sheets, use of JUTIN – the jute-made corrugated sheets – will be of great advantage for the people in the coastal belt where water is saline.
The scientist said JUTIN was much more durable, strong and also flexible compared to CI sheets.
Dr Mubarak urged the government to launch either a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project or entirely a government project to produce JUTIN commercially as about 30-40 per cent jute was used in JUTIN which makes it eco-friendly.
The BAEC scientist viewed that the commercial use of JUTIN could save substantial foreign exchange. “The housing projects of the government could also be implemented using JUTIN,” he said.
He added: “It will be particularly useful for the coastal areas as it won’t be affected by saline water. Houses made of JUTIN will be more comfortable because of its low thermal conductivity.” JUTIN having higher mechanical properties is durable, rustproof, saline-resistant, lightweight, heat-resistant and environment friendly.
Dr Mubarak also informed that the process was now ready for commercial production of JUTIN. The commercial production of JUTIN would play a major role in the jute sector of Bangladesh and it was perceived that the golden days of jute would be restored, he said.
BAEC is manually preparing JUTIN in the laboratory. An MoU between BAEC and UNICEF through DPHE (Ministry of LGED) was signed for pilot production of sanitary latrine from JUTIN in rural areas, especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).