A new chemical treatment method to extract rich cellulosic fibers from date palm agro-residues is developed. The method yielded high-performance natural date palm fibers based on multistep process, which is efficient, sustainable, and unique. The proposed method consists of three steps: dewaxing, acetylation, and mercerization, which are unique in terms of time control and their sequence resulting in optimal properties of extracted fiber. Each step is strictly time-controlled and designed to achieve specific objectives in preparation for the next step. Optimization techniques including design of experiment are used to adjust input parameters so as to obtain optimized output from the treatment method. Two approaches are used for supplying heat during the fiber extraction procedure i.e. conventional heat source and microwave heat source. Experimental characterization of extracted fibers is carried out to determine its mechanical and physical properties. Results showed 32% increase in crystallinity degree of the treated fiber over the untreated one. The new method achieved around five-fold increase in ultimate tensile strength and three-fold increase in elastic modulus. The significant enhancement in properties of treated fibers over untreated counterparts confirms the effectiveness of the new process.
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