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Matchsticks from bamboo

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The match Industry has been dependent on few wood species for making match splints that are now in short supply. Development of matchsticks from bamboo acquires special significance due to the fact that, apart from being available in natural forests, bamboos can be grown on a very short rotation of 2–3 years in various parts of the country.

Bamboos have several intrinsic characteristics that have prohibited their use for making matchsticks, including poor penetration of wax that is required to produce good incandescence and burning quality. To evolve suitable processes and parameters for making quality match splints from two widely occurring species of bamboo in Southern India, namely Bambusa bambos and Dendrocalamus strictus, extensive experiments were conducted at IPIRTI under a project funded by the International Network on Bamboo and Rattan.

At present, the match industry is using 2 mm thick wooden splints for manufacturing matchsticks. However, bamboo match splints of 1.5 mm squared were found to pass the test of strength prescribed in the relevant Indian Standard specification for match splints. Treatment with hydrogen peroxide was necessary to improve the physical appearance of the bamboo match splints, followed by dipping in boric acid, or boric acid and borax mixture at 0.5–1.0 ratio to improve after-glow property. Waxing through dipping in molten wax at 100–120°C for 8–12 s facilitated satisfactory transfer of flame from the matchstick head and burning properties. Due to smaller size, the box size required for packaging 50 splints will be smaller resulting in significant saving of wood/paper for making matchboxes. A joint Indian patent has been filed by IPIRTI and INBAR in Chennai Patent Office (MAS/627/2000 dated 07.08.2000)

Limited trials in a factory at Sivakasi-Tamilnadu were carried out, especially on waxing and head fixing, and the results were found to be very encouraging.


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