Phenolic Resin-Based Fibre


Bio-novolac fibre made from phenol-formaldehyde-derived oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) was produced using the electrospinning method. The bio-novolac phenol-formaldehyde was prepared via liquefaction and resinification at two different molar ratios of formaldehyde to liquefied EFB (LEFB) (F:LEFB = 0.5:1 and 0.8:1). Electrospinning was applied to the bio-novolac phenol-formaldehyde (BPF) to form a smooth and thin as-spun fibre. The BPF was electrospun at 15 kV and 15 cm distance between needle and collector at a flow rate of 0.5 mL/h. At the lower molecular weight of BPF resin, beads formation was observed. The addition of poly(vinyl) butyral (Mw = 175,000 – 250,000) has improved the fibre formation with lesser beads hence produced more fibre. Polymer solution with higher molecular weight produced better quality fibre


Electrospinning has received much attention due to its controllable diameter and pore structure. In addition, the process does not require the use of coagulation chemistry or high temperatures to produce solid threads from the polymer solution. This makes the process remarkably easier and suitable for the production of fibres using large and complex molecules.


The phenolic resin is petroleum-based. Synthetic resin or petroleum-based resin contains harsh and toxic chemicals that complicate the manufacturing process as tedious and high concentration is required when handling them. Furthermore, petroleum-based resin is a non-renewable source that cannot fully decompose in the environment, which will affect the environment in the future as the molecule chains of the toxic chemicals cannot be broken down. 


The project is the extension of a previously published patent on Novolac Resin with modification and formulation for electrospin fibre to make carbon fibre. The patent on biological novolac discussed making liquefaction EFB using phenol as a liquefaction reagent and moulded for the phenolic board. This invention starts with novolac phenolic resin with high mw polymer to increase the contact and stretch for electro-spray purposes. The formulation is the crucial part of getting the fibre, which can be peeled from the spray plate and can be used for other applications. The viscosity and amount of polymer added are important factors. The spray parameter like volt, distance and other will determine the size of fibre getting and whether you will get fibre or just the spray dotted. Current phenolic fibre is petroleum-based. The current carbon fibre is from PAN, phenolic resin and other petroleum bases.


The electrospun phenolic resin fibre is in nanosize thus can be applied in various application such as filtration, optical, sensor and biological scaffold. 


  • Offer alternative use of the biomass from the oil palm industry.
  • Competitive advantages, health and socioeconomic Impact


Automotive moulding compound like suspension, seats and bottom plates and electronic devices.

TRL : 4


  • Plantation for water holding materials/fertilizer
  • Sanitary and hygienist: diapers, absorbance sheets (hospital use) etc. 
  • Plant pot and decorations

TRL :  5