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Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 www.elsevier.

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Durability of bamboo-glass fiber reinforced polymer matrix hybrid composites
Moe Moe Thwea, Kin Liaob,*
b a School of Materials Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore School of Mechanical & Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore

Received 4 July 2001; accepted 22 March 2002

Abstract The resistance of bamboo fiber reinforced polypropylene composite (BFRP) and bamboo-glass fiber reinforced polypropylene hybrid composite (BGRP) to hygrothermal aging and their fatigue behavior under cyclic tensile load were studied. Injection molded samples were exposed in water at 25  C for up to 6 months and at 75  C for up to 3 months. Tensile strength and elastic modulus of BFRP and BGRP samples have shown moderate reduction after aging at 25 C after 6 months, however, they were reduced considerably after aging at 75 C for 3 months. Moisture absorption and tensile strength degradation are suppressed by using maleic anhydride polypropylene (MAPP) as a coupling agent in both types of composite systems. BFRP and BGRP samples were also loaded cyclically at maximum cyclic load of 35, 50, 65, and 80% of their ultimate tensile stress. Results suggest that BGRP has better fatigue resistance than BFRP at all load levels tested. # 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Keywords: A. Natural fiber composites; B. Durability; Aging; Fatigue

1. Introduction Cellulosic fiber reinforced plastics materials are low cost, light-weighted, have enhanced mechanical properties, free from health hazard, and thus have the potential for structural applications. Despite the attractiveness of natural fiber reinforced polymer matrix composites, they suffer from lower modulus, lower strength, and relatively poor moisture resistance compared to synthetic fiber reinforced composites such as glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP). Because of the presence of hydroxy and other polar groups in various constituents of natural fiber, the moisture uptake is high which lead to weak interfacial bonding between fibers and the relatively more hydrophobic polymer matrices, thus compromising the mechanical properties of the composites. Therefore, data on the effects of moisture on retention of mechanical properties of natural fiber reinforced composites during long-term environmental exposure are crucial for them to be utilized in outdoor applications. Studies on the environmental effect on the mechanical
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +65-6790-5835; fax: +65-6790-1859. E-mail address: askliao@ntu.edu.sg (K. Liao).

properties of some natural fibers such as jute, sisal, wood flour etc., composites have been reported [1–7]. It is shown by previous studies that moisture causes degradation of mechanical properties of natural fiber reinforced composites to a larger extent when compared to synthetic fiber reinforced composites, as a consequence of the higher moisture sorption behavior, and the organic nature of the natural fibers [8–11]. It is necessary to enhance the hydrophobisity of the natural fiber by chemical treatments with suitable coupling agents or by coating with appropriate resin in order to develop composites with better mechanical properties and environmental performance. Hybridization of natural fiber with stronger and more corrosion-resistant synthetic fiber, for example, glass or carbon fiber, can also improve the stiffness, strength, as well as moisture resistance of the composite. Using a hybrid composite that contains two or more types of different fibers, the advantages of one type of fiber could complement what are lacking in the other. As a consequence, a balance in performance and cost could be achieved through proper material design. However, only a few studies on the mechanical properties of natural and synthetic fiber reinforced polymer matrix hybrid composites are available to

0266-3538/02/$ - see front matter # 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. PII: S0266-3538(02)00225-7

376 M. The extracted fibers were dried in an oven at 105  C for 72 h in order to remove moisture. and PP (with or without MAPP) was transferred to injection molding machine.5 0. Tensile testing Injection molded. failure strain.5 0.M. Thin bamboo rods approximately 1 mm in diameter were obtained by passing the wider strips through an extruder. Although there have been numerous studies of fatigue and environmental fatigue of composite materials [15. Samples were tested to failure under tension at a crosshead speed of 1.5 m in length and soaked in water for 24 h. 2. glass fiber. Thwe. Five samples were tested for each type of composite. An extensometer was attached to the gauge section of the sample for strain measurement.25–0. and tensile modulus were recorded. and coupling agent. Small chips of bamboo 1 mm  10 mm in dimension were then obtained from cutting the longer rods. K.25–0.5 1–6 6–12 Material used for modification – – – – MAPP MAPP MAPP MAPP MAPP MAPP MAPP MAPP MAPP Gass fiber length – – 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 .2. only a few references are available on fatigue behavior of natural fiber and their composites [17–19].5 mm sÀ1 using an Instron1 tensile tester. Mass change of the samples was recorded using an electronic balance at regular time intervals.5 mm were tested according to ASTM standard D638.25–0.16]. Environmental aging BFRP and BGRP samples described in the previous section were immersed in water at 25  C for up to 6 months and at 75  C for up to 3 months. BFRP and BGRP with dimension 100 mm  10 mm  3.%) 0 0 5 10 0 5 10 5 5 5 5 5 5 Bamboo fiber length (mm) – 0.25 g cmÀ3 were used to fabricate short fiber reinforced composite samples. and E-glass fiber with the density of 2.3. These short glass fibers were also dried in an oven at 105  C for 24 h to remove surface moisture.25–0. The sample code and their contents are listed in Table 1. After mixing.25–0. Bamboo fibers of different lengths were obtained using a laboratory scale extraction technique.25–0. In this work. 2.5 0.5 0. dog-bone shaped samples of PP. Short bamboo fibers were obtained by grinding bamboo chips with a high-speed blender for approximately half an hour. with the considerations of the effects of fiber length.1. Bamboo fiber extracted from locally grown bamboo. fiber content. The resultant material coming out from injection molding was a randomly oriented short fiber composite or hybrid composite. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 date and in most cases durability issues are not addressed [12–14].5 0.25–0. E-Glass fibers 3 mm in length were obtained by cutting from continuous fiber roving using an electronic fiber-cutting machine.25–0. 2.902 g cmÀ3 (melting temperature at 140  C) were obtained for this study.25–0.9 g cmÀ3 and melt flow index of 5 and maleic anhydride polypropylene (MAPP) with a density of 0. Sample fabrication and preparation Polypropylene block copolymer (Cosmoplene) with a density of 0. the behavior of composites and hybrid composites of short bamboo and glass fibers in a polypropylene (PP) matrix under hygrothermal aging and under tensile–tensile cyclic load were studied. Tensile tests were performed at Table 1 Sample code for BFRP and BGRP samples No.5 0.25–0.5 0. the mixture of bamboo fiber. After soaking the culms were manually sliced into 1 cm wide strips with a knife.5 0. Materials and method 2. Tensile strength.%) – 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Bamboo fiber content (wt. Bamboo fiber reinforced polypropylene composite (BFRP) and bamboo-glass fiber reinforced polypropylene hybrid composite (BGRP) samples were prepared by first melt mixing the constituents using a torque rheometer (Hakkae rheocord 90) at 190  C and a rotor speed of 40 rpm for 8–10 min. Cylindrical bamboo culms deprived of nodes were cut into smaller pieces of 1–1.%) 0 20 15 10 20 15 10 15 25 35 15 15 15 Glass fiber content (wt. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Sample type PP BFRP BGRP BGRP BFRPM BGRPM-1 BGRPM-2 BGRPM-20 BGRPM-30 BGRPM-40 BGRPM-L1 BGRPM-L2 BGRPM-L3 Sample code PP B H1 H2 BM HM1 HM2 HM1-20 HM1-30 HM1-40 HM1-L1 HM1-L2 HM1-L3 Total fiber content (wt.5 0.

2. . Samples survived 1 million cycles were loaded subsequently to failure in tension to determine residual strength. b. Error bar represents standard deviation. 1. 1. (a) Tensile strength (without MAPP). The strain at maximum tensile stress for all types of composite samples ranged from 3 to 8%. In this case the fiber content was kept at 20% by mass. Tensile behavior of BFRP and BGRP Typical stress–strain curves of PP. 2 a. and after 3 months for those aged at 75  C. The average tensile strength and modulus of H1 samples has increased by 4 and 18%. 3. Four cyclic load levels. B (BFRP).1.4. The results of tensile tests of unfilled PP. respectively. Fatigue fracture surfaces of selected samples were examined under scanning electron microscope (SEM) for damage and failure characteristics. respectively. and H1 (BGRP) samples. Fig.M. Tension–tension cyclic load was applied with a sinusoidal wave with R=0. Results and discussion 3.M. the stress–strain behavior of these samples is non-linear. An increase in glass fiber content in Fig. to determine the residual tensile strength and elastic modulus. BFRP and BGRP samples are shown in Fig. BFRP and BGRP samples (without MAPP) are shown in Fig. Cyclic tests were interrupted at regular intervals to record the elastic modulus of the sample. Typical tensile stress–strain curves of BFRP and BGRP samples. (c) tensile strength (with MAPP).1 and a frequency of 5 Hz. At least three samples were tested at each load level. 2. (d) tensile modulus (with MAPP) of BFRP and BGRP samples. 35. Thwe. (b) tensile modulus (without MAPP). 65 and 80% UTS. Fatigue testing Cyclic tests were conducted at ambient temperature in air using an Instron micro force tester under a loadcontrolled mode. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 377 the end of 3 and 6 months for samples aged at 25  C. K. compared with B samples. 50. In general. were chosen to test PP.

and (b) tensile modulus of BFRP and BGRP.  the interfacial shear stress. Effect of fiber content on tensile strength and tensile stiffness of BFRP and BGRP.8 GPa. d. Therefore. The influence of fiber content on the tensile properties of BGRP (with 5% MAPP) is shown in Fig.  c. Error bar represents standard deviation. an increase in tensile strength of the samples with MAPP of about 11% is seen compared to samples without MAPP. and the subscripts f and m designate fiber and matrix. Although the tensile strength of BFRP is slightly lower than that of the PP samples. 3. K. E the modulus. BGRP composite with MAPP system offers the maximum tensile load transfer when using bamboo fiber length 1–6 mm and glass fiber length 3 mm. . resulting in an improved interfacial adhesion between the matrix and both types of fibers [20]. is seen at 40% (by mass) total fiber content. Increased modulus with fiber length is easily understood because longer fibers are carrying more tensile loads as a result of increased transfer length. enhancement was found by inclusion of glass fiber in BFRP. respectively. respectively. The tensile strength was not significantly affected by changing the bamboo fiber length from L1 (0. compared to H1 samples (bamboo to glass weight ratio 3:1). Effect of fiber length on (a) tensile strength. shown in Fig. A significant improvement in tensile modulus of BFRP and BGRP is observed compared to unfilled PP. A 44 and 7% increase in tensile modulus and strength. MAPP acts as a compatibilizer in BGRP as the maleic anhydride group can be bonded with bamboo fiber and glass fiber. As a consequence. of an uniaxially oriented short fiber composites tends to increase with fiber length and fiber matrix adhesion according to the equation: c ¼ ðf Ef þ m Em Þ "c À f E 2 f 4q where  is the volume fraction. Tensile modulus of B samples is increased by more than 100% compared to unfilled PP whereas up to 200% increment is found for H2 samples. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 BGRP results in an increase in tensile properties. " the composite strain. Fig.378 M. 2c. compared to the case of 20% (by mass) fiber content in HM1-20 samples. Tensile strength and modulus of H2 samples (bamboo to glass fiber ratio 1:1) has increased by 10 and 30%. although the differences in tensile modulus between the two systems is not obvious. The effects of fiber length on the tensile strength and modulus for the BGRP (with PP-MAPP matrix) samples are summarized in Fig. Fig. respectively. a slight drop in tensile strength and modulus is seen.4 MPa whereas their tensile modulus has increased to 4. Further increased in bamboo fiber length did not result in an increase in tensile strength and modulus.M. Tensile strength and modulus have increased almost linearly with an increase in fiber content.5 mm) to L2 (1–6 mm) in the composites whereas the tensile modulus of sample of L2 fibers has increased by 10% compare to those with L1 fibers. and q the aspect ratio. Error bar represents standard deviation. 4. 4. It has been shown that the tensile strength. The glass fiber content of all BGRP samples was kept at 5% by mass.25–0. Thwe. on the contrary. 3. thus allowing a more efficient transfer of stress along the fiber/matrix interface. Tensile properties of BFRP and BGRP samples are further improved by using MAPP as a compatibilizer. HM1-40 samples with 40% (by mass) exhibit the highest tensile strength of about 24. Lowering in tensile strength and modulus of the HM1-L1 samples may be attributed to the insufficient fiber length to receive proper tensile loads transferred from the matrix.

fiber failures may readily occur in a brittle manner.M. (b) SEM image of HM1-L3 sample. The moisture absorption level (about 1. However. respectively. and thus results in desired fiber–matrix interaction. Moreover. fiber attrition. 5a indicate that shorter fibers tend to be more evenly distributed. ÁM(t). resulting in reduced average fiber length of the product. (b) sorption behavior of BFRP and BGRP at 75  C. any further increase in the fiber length leads to no further increase in the transferred stress. although they can carry more tensile load within the critical stress transfer length. (a) Sorption behavior of BFRP and BGRP at 25  C.2. Mechanical properties are improved when the axis of the orientation of the fibers is parallel to the loading direction compared to the other two mutually perpendicular directions. is: ÁMðtÞ ¼ Mt À M 0 Â 100 M0 where M0 andMt are the masses of the sample before and during aging. Fig. The tensile stress transfer to the fiber increases when the aspect ratio of the fiber increases. larger average size (diameter) of longer bamboo fiber may lead to poorer compatibility with the matrix. and holes on the fracture surface of composite with longer fiber length suggest poor interface region leading to reduced strength (Fig. where mass change of the samples is plotted against the square root of soaking time. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 379 During injection molding both bamboo and glass fibers suffer from fragmentation. 6a. Moisture absorption during aging can be reduced considerably by replacing bamboo fiber with glass fiber Fig.M. arrow with V-shaped tail indicates holes on matrix because of pulled out bamboo fiber. However. 6. Sorption behavior The moisture uptake expressed in percent mass gain. 5. In the case of longer fibers. Longer fibers will orient less readily than shorter ones because of the greater intertwining. The sorption curves of BFRP and BGRP samples after soaking in water at 25  C for 6 months are shown in Fig. (a) SEM image of HM1-L1 sample showing well distributed fibers and good bonding of short fibers in the matrix. Thwe. To illustrate.2%) for BFRP samples is substantially higher than that of most glass fiber reinforced polymer composites. 3. fiber agglomeration. and thin arrow points to a broken fiber. at the critical aspect ratio when the tensile stress in the fiber reaches a maximum. These aforementioned factors may all contribute to reduced tensile properties of the composites with longer fiber length [9]. 5b). K. . Double-headed arrow indicates fiber agglomeration. SEM micrographs of the fracture surface of HM1-L1 and HM1-L2 samples shown in Fig.

respectively. Water sorption behavior of BFRP and BGRP samples at 75 C displayed a pseudo-Fickian behavior where a saturated moisture level had not been attained at the end of the 3-month aging period. A 2–19% reduction in tensile modulus is seen after 6 months. For example. soaking time. Moisture contents of about 3. while a slight increase in tensile modulus is observed. and 9 and 29%. It is also seen that property retention for systems with PP-MAPP matrix is. it is found that the moisture content of samples H2 and H1 is about 2. b. and H2 are found to be about 16 and 61%.380 M.2. a trend that is seen previously for samples aged at 25  C. The reduction in tensile strength and modulus for samples B. Reverting to data on tensile properties.9.M. respectively. 0. BFRP samples showed a greater reduction in tensile strength and modulus than those of BGRP samples. The mass gain during aging also decreases with an increase of glass fiber content and with the use of MAPP-PP matrix. the extent of reduction is trivial. From the sorption curves. It is worth mentioning that reduction in tensile strength and modulus of sample B is about twice that of sample H2 under accelerated aging in water for 3 months. Water diffusion through the matrix results in stress corrosion of glass fibers (even under stress free condition) and degradation of the bamboo fiber. Degradation of mechanical properties of the BFRP and BGRP composites depend on the amount of water uptake. A plausible cause is that internal degradation continues to occur with soaking time.79% are seen for BFRP and BGRP samples. The results show that property retention of BGRP (with no MAPP) is better than BFRP (with no MAPP). as shown in Fig.b. These factors are believed playing a major role in degradation of mechanical properties of the composite. moisture uptake decreases with an increase of glass fiber content in the composite. H1. Environmental aging has no notable effect on the tensile properties of PP samples within the temperature range and time of aging of the present study. H1. after 3 months. in general.1%) in the samples. and retention in mechanical properties of the composites is enhanced by using the MAPP-PP matrix. Fig. respectively. 3. although it is . Use of PP-MAPP matrix further reduces water uptake for both BFRP and BGRP samples. as well as weakening the adhesion between the fibers and the matrix [21]. 7a. respectively. after soaking in water for 3 months.7%.85 and 3. and temperature at which aging is carried out. possibly related to the hydrophobic nature of the polymer. 7a. while PP samples only show little moisture uptake after aging in water for 6 months at 25 C. Swelling and shrinkage of fibers and matrix may also help in uncoupling the interfacial adhesion. reduction in tensile strength of B samples is 19% after 6 months whereas it is 10% for H2 samples. (a) Tensile strength and (b) tensile modulus of BFRP and BGRP before and after aging in water at 25  C for 6 months and at 75  C for 3 months. 11 and 55%. it reveals that the mechanical properties are influenced by the amount of water absorbed. and 0. K. Tensile strength of the both BFRP and BGRP samples only drops slightly whereas moderate reduction in tensile modulus is observed. Similar to the previous case at 25 C. As expected. Thwe. 7. However. Error bar represents standard deviation. The tensile strength of all types of samples did not change significantly after aging in water at 25  C for 3 months. better than those systems with pure PP matrix (no MAPP). A saturated moisture level has not been reached for all types of sample within the aging period.7%. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 (with a negligible moisture uptake of about 0. Tensile properties after aging Tensile strength and modulus of all of the samples measured after aging in water at 25  C for 6 months are summarized in Fig. Results of tensile tests for samples after aging in water at 75 C for 3 months are also shown in Figs. 6b.6 and 2. Sorption rate during the initial stage is significantly higher compared to those aged at 25 C.3. and H2 samples are 1. This reduction in moisture level is attributed to the improved interfacial adhesion that reduces water accumulation in the interfacial voids and prevents water from entering the bamboo fiber. The moisture absorption level for B.

9 and 10. 8. The ultra-structure of the bamboo fiber consists of alternating broad and narrow lamellae with different fibrillar orientation. the fiber. Apparently.4. respectively. It has been proposed that decrease in the tensile strength of glass fiber is caused by breaking of the Si–O–Si bond on the fiber surface by the attacking water molecules. the matrix. 9. An arrow indicates a bamboo fiber with holes due to attacking of water during aging. Fig.M. No noticeable damage is seen on the glass fiber throughout the sample. pentosan. Accelerated aging is generally carried out in order to shed light on the long-term performance of material without actually carrying out long-term test. as suggested by most available data. 8). To understand the detrimental effects of water on mechanical properties of the composite. Arrow with V-shaped tail points to weaken interface between fiber and matrix. SEM fracture surface of a BGRP (H1) sample before aging. Thwe. and the fiber/matrix interphase region. Accelerated test is justifiable if the accelerating parameter does not cause an change in the aging mechanism. and cellulose Fig. Each layer is made up of lignin. In our case. 3. Morphological features of bamboo fiber before and after aging in water at 25  C are shown in Figs. which can be described by a kinetic crack growth equation. SEM image showing bamboo and glass fiber surface after aging in water for 6 months. (a) SEM fracture surface of BGRP (H1) after aging in water at 75  C for 3 months. Thin arrow shows a weaker bamboo fiber where a fibril is transported out from inside. K. and the process is accelerated at higher temperatures.M. it is necessary to study its effect on the constituents of the composite. 10. An arrow shows a clean bamboo fiber surface. Temperature is the key factor for accelerated aging in the processes of water diffusion and chemical degradation. and cellulose compound. no apparent morphological changes on glass fiber was observed in both aging conditions (Fig. Because it has been known from previous studies that each of these components are degraded under environmental aging in water. Fig. temperature has no effect on altering the mechanism of crack growth [23]. . presumably through a plasticizing process [22]. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 381 known that moisture absorption will lead to reduction in the elastic modulus of polymers. Fiber degradation Degradation of the reinforcements plays an important role in strength and stiffness reduction of fiber-reinforced composites as they are the major load-carrying constituents. (b) SEM fracture surface of a BFRP (B) sample after aging in water for 6 months.

water ingress is controlled by temperature and it follows that matrix plasticization is also controlled. degradation of semi-crystalline PP matrix had occurred during aging. the extent of degradation of polymeric matrix at elevated temperature is expected to be greater than that at lower temperature [24. An arrow shows a bamboo fiber surface covered with a thin polymer layer with an array of small holes. In Fig. This deposition–separation process is described in more detail in a series of SEM micrographs shown in Fig. Splitting of cellulose. An arrow points to a bamboo fiber surface covered with a thin polymer layer with well-arranged array of small polymer rods. Large and small holes (Fig. short polymer rods deposited on the bamboo surface after aging is clearly seen (Fig. As has been discussed earlier. In our case. which include catalyst residues and processing aids to cause oxidation of the polymer may present in commercially prepared polymers. The bonding between the layers of the bamboo fiber were destroyed during aging by the attacking water.M. by temperature. PP could have reacted with oxygen and moisture. In our case. 12F. temperature. Thus it can be concluded. Matrix degradation Physical and chemical changes may occur in the polymer matrix during hygrothermal aging. Although similar morphological pattern is also seen from those aged at 75 C. 11. Thwe. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 fibrils are embedded in the lignin-polyose matrix by hydrogen bonding [7]. dissolution. the diameter of the lumen (inner hole) of bamboo fiber became larger as the material in the inner layers was dissolved and transported out of the fiber. may be formed during a similar degradation process. very complex damage processes. as is obvious from the holes that are seen on the bamboo fiber surface (Fig. leading to decreased molecular weight and discoloration of the polymer [26. However the interrelationship between water ingress. Chemical changes occur due mainly to the hydrolysis of polymer bonds. Various combinations damaging agents such as heat. (b) SEM fracture surface of a BGRP (H1) sample after aging in water for 3 months. and oxygen may result in Fig. changing both the morphology and appearance of the polymer [25].382 M. 13) are seen in some parts of the PP matrix on the fracture surface of all types of samples. Consequently. very possibly after separation of the polymer rods from it. and matrix plasticization and degradation. PP possesses reactive tertiary hydrogen atoms. degradation of the PP matrix could be attributed to oxidation process and it seem to be have occurred at a faster rate in moist environment.27]. A layer of regularly spaced array of thin. regularly spaced small holes are seen on the bamboo fiber surface. at least in part. exposure to elevated temperature has a much greater effect in terms of the extent of degraded morphology. 3. based on morphological comparisons. temperature also serves as a rate controlling parameter for other degradation mechanisms such as hydrolysis. The numerous holes found in some part of the PP matrix on the fracture surface as shown in Fig. K. These damaged morphologies were not observed on the fracture surface of unaged sample (Fig. 11b. 9). (a) SEM fracture surface of a BGRP (H1) sample after aging in water for 3 months. leaving them detached from each other as the chemical constituents were being dissolved (Fig. that there is no fundamental difference in the degradation mechanism for the bamboo fiber at ambient and elevated temperatures. 9). 11a). 10). and leaching of the watersoluble species.25]. cannot be elucidated without extensive experimentation. mechanical stress. Various compounds such as additive and impurities. More will be said on the matrix-related damage of bamboo fibers in the following section. 10b). In addition. Oxidation products may serve as an autocatalyst to cause further oxidation process. Therefore. but they are not seen in unaged samples (Fig. The color of the aged samples has changed from brown to deep brown and it became even darker in water at 75  C . 12A–F. which offers higher probability of oxidation reaction to occur. The strength of the hollow bamboo fiber is weakened and the load transfer efficiency is reduced by these aging-related damages. moisture.5.

15). It has been shown that the mechanical properties for many commonly used polymer systems for composites do degrade under environmental loads [28]. it should be mentioned that in the present case. Differences in both thermal and moisture expansion coefficients of fibers and matrix also . 12. dimensional instability of the matrix under the influence of moisture and temperature may result in debonding of the fiber/matrix interface. Thwe. the tensile strengths and stiffness of PP did not show a significant drop after aging. and water-filled voids or blisters may also develop at the interface. (D) small polymer rods are about to leave from the polymer surface.M. Degradation of the fiber matrix interface The interfacial adhesion characteristics have a significant effect on the load carrying capacity of a fiberreinforced composite. 14). Small polymer strings are observed on the fracture surface of samples in both aging conditions. K. observed on the fracture surface of BGRP (H1) samples after aging in water for 6 months: (A) a thin layer of polymer with well-organized array of short polymer rods on the bamboo surface. (Fig.M. (C) growing polymer rods. Degrading process of thin polymer layer with small polymer rods covering a bamboo fiber surface. (E) well-arranged polymer layer with holes after separation of polymer rods. 3. Under environmental aging. interfacial debonding occurs by penetration of water molecule. In addition to the aforementioned factors. which is believed to be the consequence of polymer matrix deformation due to swelling in moist environment (Fig. However. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 383 Fig. (F) numerous holes found in the PP matrix. (B) a closer view of the polymer rod array. discussed as follows.6.

BFRP (B) and BGRP (H1) samples. Although fiber and interface degradation may occur during processing. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 contribute to progressive debonding and therefore weakening of the materials and it is more severe at elevated temperatures because of the larger differences of temperature and moisture content [26]. accelerated aging has a stronger effected on the stiffness of BFRP and BGRP samples at 75 C compared to that of tensile strength. Damage at the interface is more severe at high temperature as a result of dissolution of components of bamboo fiber. and has caused a greater reduction in mechanical properties of the composite. S–N curves S–N curves for PP. Qualitative comparison on damage modes based on morphology reveals that the fundamental damage mechanisms appear to be the same. 14. Thwe. and that aging at a higher temperature accelerates the process and intensifies the extent of those damages. Fig. Fig. and H1 samples are shown in Fig. 13) is found in both PP or PP-MAPP matrix composite after aging at room temperature for 3 months. B. 15. the aged sample is darker in color. 13. Arrow represents run-out. 16. both fiber and matrix degradations observed on the surfaces of aged samples are believed to be attributed to the attack of water when the samples were exposed to the moist environment but not as a result of processing. 16. Numerous small holes in the matrix indicated by an arrow with V-shaped can be seen. compared to those before aging condition (Fig. . 4. Fig. Fatigue behavior 4. fiber and matrix degradation similar to those shown in Figs.M. Obvious debonded fiber/matrix interface of the BFRP and BGRP (Fig.384 M. All samples survive 1 million fatigue cycles at Fig. While degradation in both tensile strength and stiffness are gradual at 25  C. 10 and 15 were not observed on the fracture surfaces of all types of unaged samples. Thin arrow points out a weak interface between bamboo fiber and matrix. BGRP (H1) samples before and after aging in water at 75  C. and the fiber–matrix interface. Stress–life data for PP. K. PP and PP-MAPP matrix. SEM fracture surface of a BFRP (B) sample after aging in water at 75  C for 3 months. An arrow points to swelling polymer strings at the interface between bamboo fiber and polymer matrix. So far it has been shown that environmental aging do introduce damage to bamboo fiber. SEM fracture surface of BGRP (H1) after aging in water at 75  C for 3 months.1. 9). Therefore.

BFRP and BGRP samples after one million cycles at 35. Stiffness degradation of PP.M. . 17. Higher applied cyclic stress results in greater decrease in stiffness. these stiffness degradation curves are typical of fiber reinforced composites. extent of degradation is less than that of B and H1 samples. data scattering is within one decade. It is noted that S–N curve of the unreinforced PP is above all the other curves for BFRP and BGRP samples. which are stress raisers for introducing micro damages in the material. At 80% UTS. 50. Residual strength for all of the samples survived 1 million cycles are tabulated in Fig. BFRP (B). The fatigue resistance of PP comes from the irreversible structural changes associated with nonlinear viscoelastic behavior. K. followed by a graduate drop. realignment of polymer chains in the loading direction may also contribute to slow down the stiffness degradation. 17. Fig. For all types of samples.M. micro cracks of various length transverse to the load direction can be seen obviously by naked eye at the surfaces and corner of the sample tested at 80% UTS. The density and size of these micro cracks both increase with load cycles and appeared to be crazes induced by higher stresses. H1 samples longer fatigue lives than B samples on the average. and a steep drop at late lives. Although no visible damages were found on samples loaded at lower stresses levels. It is shown in Fig. that they decay from its initial values with increasing applied load cycles [29–31]. which is gradually stored in the sample tested during cyclic fatigue [29]. All samples demonstrated stiffness drop during their early lives. suggesting a better damage resistance of the hybrid composite. BGRP samples after a million cycles at 35. Fatigue life ranged between 5Â104 and 5Â105 cycles for both types of composite whereas 7Â105 to 1Â106 is seen for PP. In general. Large data scattering associated with fatigue life is common for short fiber composites due to the random nature of damage accumulation process [30]. At failure nearly half of the initial elastic modulus had lost. 50 and 65% UTS. The reinforcing fibers did not show clearly their effects in the fatigue behavior as in the case of quasi-static loading. implying that the rate of damage developed in PP samples is slower than its composites. Overall drop in stiffness of B samples is higher than that of H1 and PP at all load levels. but their life difference is not as significant when compared to PP samples. In addition to the lack of damage initiator such as fiber ends. It is worth noticing that B samples have relatively steeper slopes in stiffness degradation compared to H1 samples. 18. These results suggest high fatigue resistance of the PP and their composites with bamboo and glass fibers. BFRP and BGRP versus applied cycles at 80% UTS is shown in Fig. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 385 different load levels except those tested at 80% UTS. Therefore. incorporation of glass fiber in BFRP composite affects the fatigue response at different load levels and hybrid composite BGRP shows better fatigue damage resistance than BFRP at a same total fiber loading. Thwe. (a) Reduction in tensile stiffness of PP. 18a that tensile stiffness of all of the samples decreases after 1 million cycles when loaded between 35 and 65% UTS.2. their residual tensile strength all show a drop Fig. 18b. A typical plot of normalized tensile stiffness degradation of PP. etc. BFRP. Although degradation in elastic modulus of PP samples also shows a decreasing trend. Stiffness degradation and residual tensile strength Tensile stiffness degradation as a result of fatigue is measured to assess damage development in the material.. and 65% UTS. 4. and BGRP (H1) samples cyclically loaded at 80% UTS. and in this case. (b) residual tensile strength of PP.

fiber splitting. Sunhemp fiber reinforced polyester. Singh MM. J Appl Polym Sci 1996. Straw reinforced polyester composites. However. MAPP. and arrow represents a splitting bamboo fiber. [5] Sanadi AR. Thwe.24:3483–90. J Mat Sci 1989. K. Double-headed arrow shows the debonding at the interphase region. J Mat Sci 1983.  Bamboo fiber degrades by decomposition into thin fibrils and detached layers while the PP matrix degrades by dissolution. Thomas G. Zheng WP. such as interface debonding.21:4299–304.M. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.16:462–4. Analysis of the mechanical properties and microstructure of bamboo-epoxy composites. Effect of water absorption on dimensional stability and impact energy of jute fiber reinforced polypropylene. Milewski JV. 5. (b) SEM image of the sample surface of BFRP (B) after fatigue loading for a million cycles at 65%UTS.  BGRP samples showed a better resistance to environmental aging than BFRP in terms of retention of tensile strength and stiffness. [10] Adams RD. In: Carbon H.62:1147–51.18:1549–56. and matrix cracking are observed on the failure surface of a H1 sample after fatigue failure at 65% UTS for a million cycles (Fig. Hand book of fillers for plastics. Polym Eng Sci 1984. 1987.  The hybrid approach of blending more durable glass fiber with bamboo fiber is an effective way to improve the durability of natural fiber composite under environmental aging. the following can be concluded:  Both the tensile strength and modulus of BFRP and BGRP have decreased after aging in water at 25 and 75  C for prolonged period. . Injection molding of polypropylene reinforced with short jute fibers. Rodgers DK. [2] Chand N. The reduction in tensile strength does not appear to be related to the number of cracks detected. Mechanical properties of sisal fiber at elevated temperature. in matrix material as a result of improved interfacial bonding. References [1] Karmaker AC. Thomas S. The effect of exposure to hot. arrow with V-shaped tail points out the matrix cracking and connecting among the agglomerated fibers. b).386 M. 1991. [8] Karmaker AC. Durability of polymer based composites systems for structural applications.  Unreinforced PP has longer fatigue life than BFRP and BGRP samples at the specified cyclic load levels. J Mat Sci 1993. The extent of strength and stiffness loss depends on the aging time and temperature. J Appl Polym Sci 1997. Prasad SV. The detailed observation of various fatigue damages correlated to the number of applied load cycles at different stress levels and effect of coupling agents (MAPP. Fig. wet conditions on the dynamic properties of fiber reinforced plastics. [4] White NM.24:1166–71. [7] Shin FG. Youngquist JA. 19. Bhagawan SS. Verchery G. editors. Part I.  Tensile strength and stiffness are enhanced by inclusion of a compatibilizer. a slight increase in tensile strength is observed for those tested at 35% UTS. but crack size seems to be more indicative of residual tensile strength in this particular composite. and hybrid composite showed better fatigue resistance than all bamboo fiber reinforced PP.63:1739–48. Analysis of tensile and impact properties. editors. Conclusions Based on the results obtained from this study. Several damage modes. this could be attributed to realignment of PP chains and fiber reorientation during fatigue. [9] Katz HS. Ansell MP. [6] Woodhams RT. London: Elsevier. (a) A typical fatigue fracture surface of a BGRP (H1) sample under SEM. Liao / Composites Science and Technology 63 (2003) 375–387 at 50 and 65% UTS. Rohatgi PK. J Mat Sci Lett 1997. J Mat Sci 1986. Mechanical properties of pineapple leaf fiber-reinforced polyester composites. 19a.28:6724–8. [3] Devi U. Xian XJ. Yipp MW. Wood fibers as reinforcing fillers for polyolefins. Hashmi SAR. silane) on the fatigue response of bamboo/PP and hybrid composite will be discussed in a subsequent paper.

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