The Effects of Production Processes on the Mechanical Properties of Sisal Fibre Reinforced Polypropylene Composites
Oladele I.O1,3, Omotoyinbo J.A1,3, Adewuyi B.O1,3 and Kavishe F.P.L.2,3
1Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering,
Federal University of Technology, Akure. Nigeria.
2Department of Metallurgical and MiningEngineering,University of Namibia.
3African Materials Science and Engineering Network (AMSEN):
A Carnegie-IAS (RISE) Network
The effects of production processes on the mechanical properties of sisal fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites were investigated. Sisal fibre for the reinforcement was extracted by soil retting after which it was chemically treated with 1 molar solution of potassium hydroxide, sodium chloride, hydrogen chloride, and ethanol, respectively. Both treated and untreated sisal fibre were characterised and used for the reinforcement of homopolymer and copolymer polypropylene. The composites were produced by compression moulding technique after which mechanical tests such as tensile, impact, and hardness tests were carried out on the samples. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) was used to study both the fibre surface morphology before they are used for the reinforcement and the fractured surface of the composites after the test. The results showed that soil retting is efficient for the extraction of sisal fibre and that chemical treatment can be used to enhance the properties of the fibre as well as the mechanical properties of the composites produced.
In the recent time, plant fibres have been receiving considerable attention as substitutes for synthetic fibre reinforcements.Unlike the traditional synthetic fibres like glass and carbon, these lignocellulosic fibres are able to impart certain benefits to the composites such as low density, high stiffness, low cost, renewability, biodegradability and high degree of flexibility during processing. Cellulosic fibres like sisal, coconut (coir) and bamboo in their natural form as well as several waste cellulosic products such as shell flour, wood flour and pulp have been used as reinforcing agents of different thermosetting and thermoplastic composites (Jain et al. 1992; Varghese et al. 1994; Geethamma et al. 1995; Ahlblad et al. 1994). Also, natural fibres like banana, sisal, hemp and flax, jute, coconut, local fibres and oil palm (Idicula et al. 2005; Jacob et al. 2004; Hautala et al. 2004; Chand & Dwivedi 2006; Brahmakumar et al. 2005; Oladele & Adewuyi 2008) have attracted scientists and technologists for applications in consumer goods, low-cost housing and other civil structures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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