Africa's natural fibres used in polymer composites: A systematic review

Chinyere O. Nwankwo, Jeffrey Mahachi, David O. Olukanni, Innocent Musonda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Environmental concerns and the depletion of petroleum resources have spurred research into natural fibres as sustainable alternatives to synthetic fibres as the reinforcement phase in polymer composites. Given that the local availability of materials is a crucial component in the sustainability framework, there is a need to map out the fibres used to develop natural fibre composites across geographical regions to optimize local resource utilization. Through a systematic review of publications sourced from Scopus and Web of Science databases, this study examines the contributions made by Africa to develop green polymer composites. The bibliometric data from both databases were systematically merged, and bibliometric analysis was carried out to identify trends and relevant relationships and provide a more general insight into Africa's progress in the natural fibre polymer composite field. A meta-analysis was then conducted to identify the natural fibres exclusively sourced from Africa that have been used to develop polymer composites. The study also discussed natural fibre classifications with respect to fibre type and form. Sisal, palm varieties (particularly date palm), alfa, jute and members of the Musaceae family (i.e., banana, plantain and enset) were found to be the most used African-sourced fibres. This study is a step to creating a more extensive global natural fibre database that seeks to provide more precise knowledge, enhance research efficiency, and ensure the utilization of local materials in creating more sustainable composites. Highlights: The use of local materials is a key component of sustainable development A natural fibre database can foster sustainability in the composite industry Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia are leading Africa's composite research Research prioritizes composite material science over practical applications Sisal, date palm, alfa and jute are the most used natural fibres in Africa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolymer Composites
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Africa
  • bibliometric analysis
  • composites
  • natural fibre
  • polymer-matrix composites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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