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International Journal of Macromolecular Science 2011; 1(1): 9-14







Original Article
Hybrid composites: Effect of fibers on mechanical properties

H.RAGHAVENDRA RAO
1
, M. ASHOK KUMAR*
2
, G. RAMACHANDRA REDDY
3

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, G. Pulla Reddy Engineering College, Kurnool-518002(AP) India
2
Principal, Saint Mark Group of Institutions, Department of Mechanical Engineering Rachanapalli, Ballary Road, Anantapur,
Andhra Pradesh, India

3
Department of Polymer Science & Technology, Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Anantapur-515055, Andhra Pradesh, India
*Corresponding author email: ashokkumarmala7@hotmail.com
Received 02 July 2011; accepted 16 July 2011
Abstract

Frictional co-efficient, impact-strength; dielectric strength and chemical resistance analysis of bamboo/glass fibers reinforced
epoxy hybrid composites were studied. Two different hybrid composites such as treated and untreated bamboo fibers were
fabricated and effect of alkali treatment of the bamboo fibers on these properties were also studied. It was observed that, impact
strength and frictional co-efficient properties of the hybrid composites increase with increase in glass fiber content. These
properties found to be higher when alkali treated bamboo fibers were used in the hybrid composites. It is observed that,
chemical resistance was significantly increases for all chemicals except carbon tetrachloride. The elimination of amorphous
hemi-cellulose with alkali treatment leading to higher crystallinity of the bamboo fibers with alkali treatment might responsible
for these observations. The effect of alkali treatment on the bonding between glass / bamboo composites was also studied.
Scanning electron microscope (SEM) were also conducted on the cross sections of fractured surfaces in order to rate the
performance hybrid composites were also imparted bear fruits.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
2011 Universal Research Publications. All rights reserved
Key words: Bamboo fiber, Glass fiber, Hybrid composites, Mechanical properties.

1. Introduction
In every automobile and aircraft parts manufacturing
industries, the glass with natural fibres are used because of
their adaptability to different situations and the relative ease
of combinations with other materials to serve specific
purpose and exhibit desired properties. Unprecedented
plastics usages are inevitable in these days as it is versatile
material that lends itself to many uses. The turnaround in
favor plastic happened not just because of color and
durability for household products but also because plastics as
an accessory became fashionable and trend setters. Thus this
is the day of plastics (composites). Glass fibre reinforced
composites due to their high specific strength and specific
stiffness have become attractive structural materials not only
in weight sensitive aerospace, automobile industries, but also
in marine, armor, railways, civil engineering structures,
sports goods etc. Epoxy resin is the most commonly used
polymer matrix with reinforcing fibres for advanced
composites applications. They are being used widely as a
matrix to hold the high performance fibre reinforcement
together in composite materials, as well as a structural
adhesive. Among all reinforcing fibres, natural fibres have
gained substantial importance as reinforcements in polymer
matrix composites.
A lot of work has been done by many research aspirants on
these composites based on these fibres. But little work was
explored about the glass/bamboo hybrid fibers as these offers
a range of properties that cannot be obtained with a single
kind of reinforcement. The glass and the bamboo fibres were
combined in the same matrix to produce hybrid composites
which impart distinctive properties that cannot be obtained
with a single kind of reinforcement. Therefore authors main
focus is to fabricate advanced composite materials which can
compatible with all possible industries.
Available online at http://www.urpjournals.com
International Journal of Macromolecular Science
Universal Research Publications. All rights reserved



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International Journal of Macromolecular Science 2011; 1(1): 9-14



Fig. 1 The variation of impact strength with the ratio of %
Glass/bamboo fibers reinforced epoxy composites

Fig. 2 Variation of the dielectric strength as a function of
Glass/bamboo fiber reinforced epoxy composites.
In the present work, the bamboo & glass fiber reinforced high
performance epoxy hybrid composites were developed to
identify impact properties with fiber content (with varying
ratio of glass/bamboo fibers) were studied. In the present
work, the authors fabricated and investigated the interfacial
bonding between glass/bamboo reinforced epoxy composites.
The effect of alkali treatment on the bonding between glass /
bamboo composites was also studied.

2. Methodology
2.1. Materials
High performance epoxy resin LY 556 and the
curing agent hardener HY 951 system were used as the
matrix. Bamboo fibers were procured from Tripura state of
India in the dried form. Some of these fibers were soaked in
1% NaOH solution for 30 min. to remove any greasy material
and hemi cellulose, washed thoroughly in distilled water and
dried under the sun for one week. The glass chopped strand
mat was used in making the hybrid composite percentage.

2.2. Preparation of the Composite and the Test Specimens
For making the composite, a molding box was prepared with
glass with 200 mm200 mm3 mm mould cavity. The
mould cavity was coated with a thin layer of aqueous solution
of poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) which acts as a good releasing
agent. Further a thin coating of hard wax was laid over it and
finally another thin layer of PVA was coated. Each coat was
allowed to dry for 20 min. at room temperature. A 3 mm
thick plate was made from the epoxy and hardener taken in
the ratio of 100 and 10 parts by weight respectively. Then the
molding box was loaded with the matrix mixture and
drumstick & glass fiber in random orientation (with varying
percentage) and was placed in vacuum oven which was
maintained at 100
0
C for 3 hours to complete the curing. After
curing, the plate was removed from the molding box with
simple tappering and it was cut into samples for impact test
with dimensions of. 120 mm x 13mm x 3 mm are cut as per
ASTM D 256-88 specifications For comparison sake the
specimen for matrix material were also prepared in similar
lines. For Scanning electron microscope analysis the
cryogenically cooled and fractured specimen surfaces were
gold coated and the fractures surface was observed using
scanning electron microscope.

2.3. Frictional Co-efficient and Impact Load
Measurement
The frictional co-efficient is obtained from friction test (FX-
7100) which is performed by sliding a pin on a sample disc at
23C and 45% relative humidity. Before each test, the surface
of counterpart pin is abraded with No. 1000 abrasive paper
and cleaned with alcohol-dipped cotton, followed by drying.
This friction test consisted of a rectangular composite pin
sliding against composite sheets. Another friction test is also
performed at sliding velocity of 0.5 mm/s and the loads are
varied from 1, 5 and 10 N during 20 cycles. Thus the friction
coefficient is measured. The impact strength is determined
using IZOD impact tester. The test specimens with
dimensions 120 mm x 13mm x 3 mm are cut as per ASTM D
256-88 specifications. In each case five specimens are tested
and average value is recorded.


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International Journal of Macromolecular Science 2011; 1(1): 9-14



Fig. 3 Variation of frictional co-efficient as a function of
glass/bamboo fibre on untreated hybrid composites during 20
cycles.

Fig. 4 Variation of frictional co-efficient as a function of
glass/bamboo fibre on treated hybrid composites during 20
cycles.
2.4. Dielectric Strength
The composite specimens were made as per the ASTM D
149 to measure the dielectric strength. The specimens having
dimensions of 120mm x 120mm x 3mm are reinforced with
fibres in a single direction along 120mm length. The
dielectric break down voltage is determined at five points for
each specimen, and average value was considered for
analysis. The points selected are distant enough so that there
is no flashover. The test is carried out at 50Hz frequency and
room temperature. Digital micrometer of 0.001mm least
count is used to find the thickness of the specimen at break
down point and the test was repeated for all specimens
fabricated from different kinds of fibres.
2.5. Chemical Resistance Test
To study the chemical resistance of the composites, the test
method ASTM D 543-87 [9] was employed. Three acids,
three alkalis and four solvents were used for this purpose.
Acetic acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, ammonium
hydroxide, aqueous sodium carbonate, aqueous sodium
hydroxide, carbon tetrachloride, benzene, toluene, and
distilled water were used after purification. In each case, the
samples (5x5x3) mm
3
were pre-weighed in a precision
electrical balance and dipped in the respective chemical
reagents for 24 hrs. They were then removed and
immediately washed in distilled water and dried by pressing
them on both sides with a filter paper at room temperature as
described elsewhere [7]. The treated samples were then re-
weighed and the percentage loss/gain was determined using
the equation:



2.6. Scanning Electron Microscopy Analysis
A Jeol JSM-6400 Japan scanning electron microscope (SEM)
at 15 kV accelerating voltage equipped with energy
dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) to identify the clay particles in
the nanocomposites. The fractured surfaces were gold coated
with a thin film to increase the conductance for SEM for
analysis.

3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Impact Strength Tests
The variation of impact strength with the ratio of percentage
glass/bamboo fiber in these composites is presented in Figure
1. In this case also the hybrid composites are found to have
good impact properties. In the case of maximum strength, the
values vary between 36 to 430 MPa. The impact strength of
these composites was found to be enhanced when alkali
treated bamboo fibers were used in the hybrid composites.
Similar observation was made by Varada Rajulu et al [2 9]
and Srinivasulu et al [10] in the case of some bamboo
composites and polymer coated bamboo fibers.

3.2. Dielectric Strength Test
It is also worth noticing that the dielectric strength of hybrid
fibre composites (Figure 2) increases with increase in
volume fraction of fibre in the composite in the present study.
This is a very rare phenomenon which is not observed in
many of the natural fibre composites. Dielectric strength of
hybrid fibre composites investigated in the present research


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International Journal of Macromolecular Science 2011; 1(1): 9-14


Fig. 5 SEM of untreated bamboo fiber (a) and (b) at two regions 100x magnification
and (c) and (d) at two regions 200x magnification
Fig. 6 SEM of treated bamboo fiber (a) and (b) at two regions 100x magnification and
(c) and (d) at two regions 200x magnification


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International Journal of Macromolecular Science 2011; 1(1): 9-14


Table 1 Effect of chemicals on neat epoxy matrix and hybrid
composites at % change in weight after dipping for 24hr.
Chemical Neat
epoxy
GF/Bamboo
Hybrid composite
Hydrochloric acid +1.207 +0.873
Acetic acid +1.262 +0.241
Nitric acid +2.459 +1.678
Sodium hydroxide +1.124 +0.568
Sodium Carbonate +0.295 +0.245
Ammonium Hydroxide +0.989 +0.767
Benzene +2.330 +10.426
Toluene +2.459 +4.810
Carbon tetrachloride -2.921 -2.145
Distilled water +1.634 +1.023
work of the hybrid composite can certainly be considered for
electrical insulation applications.
3.3. Frictional Co-efficient Test
For the neat epoxy, the frictional coefficient is increased with
an increasing of load force. The frictional coefficients of the
composites are distinctly decreased, especially at a higher
force. The lowering of the friction, i.e., better tribological
property, is significantly identified at 40/0 wt% of glass
fiber/bamboo content. The friction coefficients for untreated
are higher when compared with treated for the same filler
content. Variation of frictional co-efficient after 20 cycles of
GF/bamboo fiber filled epoxy under a sliding speed of 0.5
mm/s and varying loads of 1N, 5N and 10N, as a function of
hybrid fiber are presented in Figure 3 & 4. It is noticed that
the friction coefficients considerably decreased with increase
in fiber loading at the selected sliding speed. It is further
noticed that frictional co-efficient values improved
remarkably at low load force and also increase with load
force.
3.4. Chemical Resistance Test
Chemical resistance of neat epoxy and hybrid composites are
tabulated in the Table 1. It is evident that weight is increased
for matrix after immersion. This is understandable as the
matrix is well cross linked and as a result swelling takes place
instead of dissolution. These composites proved to be good
resistance to attack on chemicals except carbon tetrachloride.

3.5. Morphology Test on Cross Sections of Fractured
Surfaces
To probe the bonding between the reinforcement and matrix,
the scanning electron micrograms of fractured surfaces of
glass/bamboo reinforced epoxy hybrid composites were
recorded. These micrograms were recorded at different
magnifications and regions. The analysis of the micrograms
of the composites prepared under different conditions is
presented in the following paragraphs.

3.5.1. Untreated bamboo fiber
The micrograms of fractured surfaces of untreated bamboo
fiber are presented in Fig. 2 (a)-(d). Figures (a) and (b)
represents the fractograms at two regions with a
magnification of 100X. Figure 2 (c) and (d) are the
fractograms at these regions at magnification of 200X. From
all these micrograms, it is evident that fiber pullout is
observed, indicating a poor bonding between the fibers.
When the interfacial bonding is poor, the mechanical
properties of the composites will be inferior. All the
mechanical properties of the glass/bamboo fiber composites
studied indicate that these properties are the least for these
composites with untreated bamboo fibers. The poor adhesion
is indicated in Fig 2 supports this observation.
3.5.2. Treated bamboo fiber
The fractograms of alkali treated bamboo fiber composites
are presented in figures 3 (a), (b), (c) and (d). These
fractograms were recorded at two different regions and 100X
and 200 X magnifications. From these micrograms it is
clearly evident that the surface of the fibers becomes rough
on alkali treatment. The elimination of hemi-cellulose from
the surface of the bamboo fiber may be responsible for the
roughening of the surface. Here, though the bonding is
improved, fiber pullout is reduced. Thus the alkali treatment
improved the bonding. This is in accordance with the
mechanical properties of these composites.
4. Conclusion
The hybrid composites of glass/bamboo fiber reinforced
epoxy were made in order to evaluate frictional and impact
properties, dielectric strength, chemical resistance and SEM
analysis studied. The effect of alkali treatment of the bamboo
fibers on these properties was studied. The hybrid composites
with alkali treated bamboo fibers were found to possess
higher impact properties. Treated composites also proved that
they have good dielectric properties at 40/0 bamboo/glass
fiber weight ratio. These treated hybrid composites were
optimized good mechanical properties at glass/bamboo: 40/0.
Chemical resistance improved significantly for all the
chemicals except for carbon tetrachloride. The elimination of
amorphous weak hemi cellulose components from the
bamboo fibers on alkali treatment may be responsible for this
behavior.
Acknowledgements
Authors would thank for both Dept. of Pharmacy and Dept.
of Polymer science and Technology at S.V.Univesity,
Anantapur for providing laboratories and other facilities.

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Source of support: Nil; Conflict of interest: None declared