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Chemical Treatments of Natural Fiber for Use
in Natural Fiber-Reinforced Composites: A
Review

Article in Journal of Polymers and the Environment · February 2007
DOI: 10.1007/s10924-006-0042-3

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Xue Li Lope G Tabil
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada University of Saskatchewan
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Satyanarayan Panigrahi
University of Saskatchewan
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henequen and many maleated coupling agents. Li posites. etc. composite materials. chemical treatments are considered in polyether ether ketone (PEEK). low cost. carbon.ca cellulose. Panigrahi industries to cut down on material cost [17].tabil@usask. jute. hemp. acrylation. and matrix and the relative high moisture sorption. Table 1 lists the agents  Surface treatments mechanical properties of some natural and man-made fibers. Tabil Æ Satyanarayan Panigrahi Published online: 4 January 2007  Springer Science+Business Media. 16]. Canada S7N 5A9 and surface adhesive bonding of natural fiber is e-mail: lope.1007/s10924-006-0042-3 ORIGINAL PAPER Chemical Treatments of Natural Fiber for Use in Natural Fiber-Reinforced Composites: A Review Xue Li Æ Lope G. fiber aimed at improving the adhesion between the 9–11]. waxes and S.ca natural fibers is shown in Table 2 [18. Traditional fiber-rein- In this paper.usask. lignin. The composition of selected e-mail: sap382@mail. Natural fiber-reinforced composites can be applied in the plastics. isocyanates. pectin. reinforcement has increased dramatically in recent tages of low density. Natural fibers. Advantages of natural fibers over man-made fiber surface and the polymer matrix may not only fibers include low density.ca necessary for developing natural fiber-reinforced com- X. hemicellulose. SK. The 123 . These advantages make strength. The components of natural fibers include e-mail: xul214@mail. G. years [1–5]. silane. recyclability and modify the fiber surface but also increase fiber biodegradablility [12–14]. LLC 2006 Abstract Studies on the use of natural fibers as Introduction replacement to man-made fiber in fiber-reinforced composites have increased and opened up further Processing of plastic composites using natural fibers as industrial possibilities. hemp. and many others as reinforcing composites are reviewed. especially bast (bark) ing alkali. 19]. A better understanding of the chemical composition University of Saskatchewan. Plastic composites are the poor compatibility between fiber polymers including high density polyethylene (HDPE). low cost. 57 Campus Drive. Water absorption of composites is reduced natural fibers potential replacement for glass fibers in and their mechanical properties are improved. have been modifying the fiber surface properties. polypropylene (PP). Therefore. low density polyethylene (LDPE). benzoylation. permanganate others were applied by some researchers as fiber and others are discussed. Department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering. automobile and packaging X. such as flax. jute and sisal. are very Keywords Fiber-reinforced composites  Natural good and may compete with glass fiber in specific fiber  Chemical modifications  Chemical coupling strength and modulus [15. acetylation. especially flax. Li  L. component. and biodegradability. on natural fibers for use in natural fiber-reinforced aluminum oxide. the different chemical modifications forced composites use various types of glass.usask. Panigrahi water soluble substances. The chemical treatment of reinforcement for composites in recent years. [1–5. Tabil (&)  S. the main disadvantages of natural fibers in fiber as reinforcement and a polymer as matrix. Mechanical properties of natural fibers. Fiber-reinforced composites consist of However. fibers. Natural fibers have the advan. reported as the matrices [1–9]. Saskatoon. Chemical treatments includ.J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 DOI 10.

2 345–1500 27.5 2. chemical coupling agents are properties when used to reinforce hydrophobic matri.7 1. 18] took a partial review on the 123 . (or Pentosan) (%) 19] A.7 5–16.6–1 Henequen 77.48 1. Generally.2 15.5–23 – 2–5 Jute 45–71. Chemicals may acti- test methods even for the same kind of fiber.2 18. namely: (a) elimination of weak branched. Core fiber Kenaf 37–49 15–21 18–24 – 2–4 Jute 41–48 21–24 18–22 – 0. highly com.33–1.4 1. Leaf fiber Abaca 56–63 7–9 15–17 – 3 Sisal 47–78 7–11 10–24 10 0.8 4570 86. mainly aromatic.9 – B. Cellulose vate hydroxyl groups or introduce new moieties that is a semicrystalline polysaccharide made up of D.6–91 0.5 – 1000 40. Lignins are amorphous.0–3. natural fiber components [16]. opment of a definitive theory for the mechanism of sidic bonds [19].46 1.6 3. fully amorphous and have a significantly boundary layers.0 287–597 5.6–80 Hemp 1. Chemical modifications of natural fibers aimed at Because the low interfacial properties between fiber improving the adhesion with a polymer matrix were and polymer matrix often reduce their potential as investigated by a number of researchers [4. can effectively interlock with the matrix. The first function ces. 16] Cotton 1. and units [19] but have the least water sorption of the (f) alteration of acidity of substrate surface. (b) production of a tough and flexible lower molecular weight than cellulose.6–21 0.0–6.8 220–938 44–128 Sisal 1.6 550–900 70 Ramie 1.6–0.0 Aramide (normal) 1. reinforcing agents due to the hydrophilic nature of However.5 2.6 2.7–13 14–22.4–1.0–240.5–12.2 0.0 Softwood kraft 1.0 Table 2 Chemical composition of selected Type of fiber Cellulose (%) Lignin (%) Hemicellulose Pectin (%) Ash (%) common natural fibers [18.3 – Seed flax 43–47 21–23 24–26 – 5 Kenaf 31–57 15–19 21.0 2000–3500 70. The devel- glucopyranose units linked together by b-(1-4)-gluco.0 Coir 1.8 4000 230.2–3.0 E–glass 2. different chemicals were used and very natural fibers.6 Jute 1.0–38. 21–24]. of the wetting between polymer and substrate. (c) development of a highly crosslinked inter- open structure containing many hydroxyl and acetyl phase region with a modulus intermediate between groups.5 2.5–2 Hemp 57–77 3. strongly bound to cellulose fibrils presumably by Bledzki and Gassan [9] outlined several mechanisms of hydrogen bonds.5–3.4–1.8 393–800 10–30 Flax 1. Hemicellulose is second is to react with functional groups of the matrix. polymers of phenylpropane formation of covalent bonds with both materials.6–20.0 175–220 4.0 Carbon (standard) 1.5–1.5–1. Because of its layer.26 J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 Table 1 Mechanical properties of natural fibers as Fiber Density Elongation Tensile strength Young’s modulus compared to conventional (g/cm3) (%) (MPa) (GPa) reinforcing fibers [9. chemical modifications are considered to limited papers [9. hemicellulose is partly soluble in water and that of substrate and of the polymer.0–30.5 2.4 3.0–14 400–700 9.8 Ramie 68.3–1.0 S–glass 2.5 1.7 3000–3150 63. the result is a very poor interface and poor is to react with hydroxyl groups of cellulose and the resistance to moisture absorption [20].5 12–26 13.4 0. Hemicellulosic polymers are coupling in materials.9 0. molecules possessing two functions.1 4–8 – – composition may differ with the growing condition and optimize the interface of fibers.6 13.8 C.0–67.3–3.0–10. (e) plex. 10. Bast fiber Fiber flax 71 2. (d) improvement hygroscopic [16]. And the large amount of hydroxyl bonding by chemicals in composites is a complex group in cellulose gives natural fiber hydrophilic problem.

hydro- lyzable alkoxy group leads to the formation of silanols. composites and concluded that maximum tensile strength resulted from the 4% NaOH treatment at room temperature. tant modification done by alkaline treatment is the disruption of hydrogen bonding in the network struc- Silane Treatment ture. Jacob et al. stabilizing the crystallites [18]. These researchers CH2 CHSiðOHÞ3 þ Fiber  OH observed that alkali led to an increase in amorphous ! CH2 CHSið OHÞ2 O  Fiber þ H2 O ð3Þ cellulose content at the expense of crystalline cellulose. [38] and Agrawal [31] examined the effect of NaOH concentration (0. 31]. Silane coupling agents were also found to be effective thus increasing the number of possible reaction sites in modifying natural fiber–polymer matrix interface [29]. alkaline processing directly influences the that are chemisorbed onto the fiber surface [25]. [37] soaked sisal fiber in a solution of 2% strength and modulus) for flax fiber–epoxy composites aminosilane in 95% alcohol for 5 min at a pH value of and coincided with the removal of pectin. [24] reported that alkaline treatment 2 h was reportedly used to modify the flax surface [24]. Alkaline 4. propyl trimethoxy silane with concentration of 1% in a especially on fiber strength and stiffness [26]. the amount of cellulose exposed on the fiber surface. It is reported that alkaline treatment has two effects on the fiber: (1) it increases surface roughness resulting Many researchers applied silane treatment in sur- in better mechanical interlocking. Mishra et al. thereby increasing surface roughness. application of silane restrain the swelling of the fiber by In alkaline treatment.5–5. Silane solutions in a water and impact fatigue and dynamic mechanical behaviors of ethanol mixture with concentration of 0. In the presence of moisture. Ray et al. Similar treatments were attempted by CH2 CHSiðOC2 H5 Þ3 ! CH2 CHSiðOHÞ3 þ 3C2 H5 OH Morrison et al. alkaline treatment has a lasting and increasing the interfacial strength.J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 27 mechanism and utilization of chemical treatments in 1. This is because at higher alkali concentra- tion. The reaction schemes Mishra et al. The tensile used chemical treatment of natural fibers when used to strength of the composite decreased drastically after reinforce thermoplastics and thermosets. Consequently.5 MPa pressure was suitable for degumming and defibrillation to individual fibers.5. cellulosic fibril. et al. Van de solution of acetone and water (50/50 by volume) for Weyenberg et al. [25] to treat heneque´n fibers and oil palm fibers. [32] reported that 5% Chemical Treatments NaOH treated sisal fiber-reinforced polyester compos- ite had better tensile strength than 10% NaOH treated Alkaline Treatment composites. Fiber  OH þ NaOH ! Fiber  O  Na þ H2 O ð1Þ The silanol then reacts with the hydroxyl group of the fiber. gave up to a 30% increase in tensile properties (both Rong et al. Three amino- effect on the mechanical behavior of flax fibers. SiH4. 4 and 10%) for treating sisal fiber-reinforced fiber-reinforced composites. [28] ð2Þ reported that 2% alkali solution for 90 s at 200C and 1. [27] to treat flax fiber. [22] treated jute and sisal fibers with 5% are given as follows [25]: aqueous NaOH solution for 2 h up to 72 h at room H2 O temperature. wax and oils Silane is a chemical compound with chemical formula covering the external surface of the fiber cell wall. 2. Silanes are used as coupling agents to let glass depolymerizes cellulose and exposes the short length fibers adhere to a polymer matrix. the degree of polymerization and the Therefore. This treat- ment removes a certain amount of lignin. the hydrocarbon chains provided by the extraction of lignin and hemicellulosic compounds [26]. the coupling agent. Addition of aqueous sodium hydrox- composite material. 30. and (2) it increases face modification of glass fiber composites [33–36]. Silane coupling agents may reduce ide (NaOH) to natural fiber promotes the ionization of the number of cellulose hydroxyl groups in the fiber– the hydroxyl group to the alkoxide [25]: matrix interface. excess delignification of natural fiber occurs Alkaline treatment or mercerization is one of the most resulting in a weaker or damaged fiber. Garcia et al. [21] and between the matrix and the fiber. forming stable covalent bonds to the cell wall Thus. fibers are immersed in NaOH creating a crosslinked network due to covalent bonding solution for a given period of time. 123 . were also carried by Valadez et al.5 followed by 30 min air drying for hydrolyzing treatment also significantly improved the mechanical.033% and 1% fiber-reinforced composites [23. The impor- certain optimum NaOH concentration.

123 . Thermal sta. modifying the properties of these polymers so that they become hydrophobic [39]. Nair et al. fibers. A similar method was also tion of sisal fibers. Acetylation was used in surface treatments of (C6H5COCl) solution for surface treatment of sisal fiber for use in fiber-reinforced composites [10. untreated fiber composites. 40]. fiber reportedly became very rough and had a number of voids that provided better mechanical interlocking Acrylation and Acrylonitrile Grafting with the polystyrene (PS) matrix. The procedure by Nair et al. biological tests [42]. higher bio-resistance and less tensile strength loss bility of the composites was also improved after silane compared to composites with silane treated fiber in treatment [25]. Chemical modification with acetic anhy- fiber and benzoyl chloride is shown in Eqs. Benzoyl chloride includes benzoyl esterification method causing plasticization of cellu- (C6H5C=O) which is attributed to the decreased losic fibers. The reaction involves the generation of hydrophilic nature of the treated fiber and improved acetic acid (CH3COOH) as by-product which must be interaction with the hydrophobic PS matrix. 5 and 6 [44]. 37. Acetylation of natural fibers is a well-known fiber treatment. the cellulose molecule. which led to composites [41]. Acetylation of Natural Fibers Benzoylation Treatment Acetylation describes a reaction introducing an acetyl Benzoylation is an important transformation in organic functional group (CH3COO–) into an organic com- synthesis [43]. A hypothetical model of interface between the sisal fiber and PS Acrylation reaction is initiated by free radicals of the composites has been postulated. [41] used NaOH and benzoyl chloride composites. The NaOH solution. the adhesion of flax fiber and polyethylene (PE) matrix.28 J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 It was verified that the interaction between the silane because of better thermal stability of treated fibers and coupling agent modified fiber and the matrix was much improved fiber–matrix interactions in treated fiber stronger than that of alkaline treatment. [32] investigated the acetyla. The treated surface of sisal with water and dried in the oven at 80C for 24 h. [41]. A hypothetical model of the interface of PS- Acetylation treatment of sisal fiber was reported to benzoylated sisal fiber composite has been postulated improve the fiber–matrix adhesion. It was also reported that acetylated composites with higher tensile strength from silane. dride (CH3-C(=O)-O-C(=O)-CH3) substitutes the polymer hydroxyl groups of the cell wall with acetyl Fiber  OH þ NaOH ! Fiber  O Naþ þ H2 O ð5Þ groups. The reaction of acetic anhydride with fiber is shown as [39]: Fiber  OH þ CH3  Cð¼ OÞ  O  Cð¼ OÞ  CH3 ! Fiber  OCOCH3 þ CH3 COOH Benzoylation of fiber improves fiber matrix adhe- ð4Þ sion. The removed from the lignocellulosic material before the reaction between the cellulosic hydroxyl group of the fiber is used. Dewaxed sisal fiber was immersed in applied by Wang [45] to improve the interfacial 5 and 10% NaOH solution for 1 h at 30C. 39. it was decanted and soaked in acetic activate the hydroxyl groups of the cellulose and lignin anhydride containing one drop of concentrated H2SO4 in the fiber. Benzoyl chloride is most often used in pound. Cellulose can be treated with high thermal stability of treated fiber composites was found energy radiation to generate radicals together with to be higher than that of untreated fiber composite chain scission [9]. [44] and Nair natural fibers and increases the dimensional stability of et al. Joseph et al. alkaline-treated fiber was soaked in glacial acetic acid The fiber was initially alkaline pre-treated in order to for 1 h at 30C. natural fiber-reinforced polyester composites exhibited treated than alkaline-treated fiber [38]. decreasing its water absorption and improv- Acetylation can reduce the hygroscopic nature of ing its thermal stability. then in glacial acetic acid and finally in isolated fibers were then soaked in ethanol for 1 h to acetic anhydride containing two drops of concentrated remove the benzoyl chloride and finally was washed H2SO4 for a period of 1 h. Mishra et al. [41] treated raw sisal fiber in 18% NaOH and benzoyl chloride solution for 15 min. Meanwhile. then the fiber was suspended in 10% for 5 min. It was observed that the thermal included an alkaline treatment initially. followed by stability of treated composites were higher than that of acetylation. thereby considerably increasing the strength of composite.

47]. the tensile strength and pretreatment. The fibers were washed with aqueous with 10 and 25% AN. silane and acrylation. it was reported by Li et al. Mishra et al. Sreekala et al. suggesting that changes in chemistry of the [48. 49] used acrylic acid in natural fiber surface fiber surface reduced the affinity of fibers to moisture. [22] using a combination of anhydride to be cohesive and produce maleic anhy- NaIO4 and CuSO4 as initiator in an aqueous medium dride grafted polypropylene (MAPP). AN concentration provides covalent bonds across the interface (Fig. Reaction ment of cellulose fibers with hot MAPP copolymers medium. The difference with other chemical Fiber  OH þ CH2 ¼ CHCN ! Fiber  OCH2 CH2 CN treatments is that maleic anhydride is not only used to ð7Þ modify fiber surface but also the PP matrix to achieve better interfacial bonding and mechanical properties in Graft copolymerization of AN on sisal fibers was composites [55–57]. fiber–HDPE composites was improved and water absorption of composites was decreased. Maleated Coupling Gents Acrylonitrile (AN. The tensile strength of oil grafting at low concentration of AN may create orderly palm fiber–PE composites did not increase. acetylation.J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 29 Acrylic acid (CH2=CHCOOH) can be graft poly. and even fiber loading influenced the graft effect. [49] treated oil palm fiber with AN in silane and acrylation led to strong covalent bond 1% H2SO4 solution after alkali and KMnO4 oxidized formation and thereby. initiator. obtained for treatment duration of 3 h. modification. Other arrangement of polyacrylonitrile units. Treatments like Sreekala et al. It The mechanism of reaction of maleic anhydride with was found that untreated fibers absorbed the most PP and fiber can be explained as the activation of the Fig. However. Then the treat- at temperatures between 50 and 70C. treatment time. The PP chain permits maleic studied by Mishra et al. However. (CH2=CH–C ” N)) is also used to modify fibers. [50] fiber reinforced phenol formaldehyde (PF) composites that the tensile strength of acrylic acid treated flax after treatment was not observed. 1). peroxide. The reaction of AN with fiber Maleated coupling agents are widely used to strength- hydroxyl group occurs in the following manner [18]: en composites containing fillers and fiber reinforce- ments [51–54]. chemical treatments on oil palm fibers were also [22] also concluded that optimum graft yield was investigated. the expected increase in fiber– Young’s modulus of treated fibers were improved matrix adhesion and reduction in water sorption on marginally. including alkaline. water and 25% AN-grafted sisal fibers absorbed the merized to modify glass fibers [46. least water. Oil palm fibers were mixed with 10% It was also found that grafting of chemically modified NaOH for about 30 min and then treated with a fibers with 5% AN brought a higher increase in tensile solution of acrylic acid at 50C for 1 h at various strength and Young’s modulus of fibers than grafting concentrations. The explanation for this was that alcohol solution and dried. permanganate. 1 The reaction of cellulose fibers with hot MAPP copolymers [58] 123 .

the hydrophilicity of the [10. 23]: treatment reduced the water absorption to a great RO  OR!2RO ð10Þ extent in banana. 0. 49]. the peroxide with the treated composites. After groups between fiber and matrix. centrations of 0. Peroxide solution concentration was 6% [10] and saturated solutions of peroxide in acetone were used [48. In addition to PP matrix. Benzoyl peroxide (BP. It has been group or a molecule with the functional group ROOR found that a 30% fiber loading with 0. flexural modulus. hemp and sisal fiber-reinforced novolac composites. As a result of permanganate treatment. hardness and RO þ PE  H!ROH þ PE ð11Þ impact strength of plant fiber-reinforced composites increased after maleic anhydride treatment. initiated free radical reaction between PE matrix and Mishra et al. (C6H5C(CH3)2O)2) are chemicals in initiating graft copolymerization as shown below [16]: the organic peroxide family that are used in natural fiber surface modifications. Sreekala et al. peroxide-treated oil palm fiber-rein- forced PF composites could withstand tensile stress to a higher strain level. ((C6H5CO)2O2) and dicumyl tion. Joseph and Thomas [23] investi- gated BP and DCP treatment on short sisal fiber- reinforced PE composites. highly reactive Mn3+ ions are responsible for peroxide (DCP. Then. [59] used MAPP as coupling agent In organic chemistry. [10] dipped alkaline- fibers decreased [10] and the tensile properties treated sisal fibers in permanganate solution at con- increased [23]. RO then reacts with the hydrogen group of the A 72. RO. The hydrophilic tendency of fiber decreased An isocyanate is a compound containing the isocyanate as the KMnO4 concentrations increased. RO þ Cellulose  H!ROH þ Cellulose ð12Þ Permanganate Treatment PE þ Cellulose !PE  Cellulose ð13Þ Permanganate is a compound that contains permanga- nate group MnO–4. [60] reported that maleic anhydride cellulose fibers is shown by the following [10.0625 and 0. the hydrophilic tendency of the fibers was reduced. degradation of cellulosic to reaction with the hydroxyl groups of cellulose and 123 .30 J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 copolymer by heating (170C) before fiber treatment fiber occurred which resulted in the formation of polar and then the esterification of cellulose fiber [58].125% in acetone for 1 min. But at higher functional group –N=C=O. [48] observed that high temperature was favored for the decomposition of the peroxide. peroxide is a specific functional for the surface modification of jute fibers. Organic peroxides concentration in toluene and 5 min impregnation time tend to decompose easily to free radicals of the form with 6 mm average fiber lengths gave the best results. Permanganate treatment leads to the formation of cellulose radical through MnO–3 ion forma. and Isocyanate Treatment thus.5% MAPP containing the divalent ion O–O. fibers are coated with BP or DCP in acetone solution for about 30 min after alkali pre-treatment [10. As a duration from 1 to 3 min after alkaline pre-treatment result of peroxide treatment. Mechanical properties like Young’s modulus.033. This results in better wettability and Peroxide Treatment higher interfacial adhesion of the fiber. In peroxide treatment.3% increase in flexural strength was observed matrix and cellulose fibers. For example. 23. The tensile strength values Most permanganate treatments are conducted by of composites increased with the increase in concen- using potassium permanganate (KMnO4) solution (in tration of peroxide up to a certain level (4% for DCP acetone) in different concentrations with soaking and 6% for BP) and then remained constant. 49. 49]. Paul et al. 48. the water absorption of fiber-reinforced composite decreased. Mohanty et al. which is highly susceptible KMnO4 concentrations of 1%. 48. the surface energy of cellulose fibers is increased to a level much closer to the surface energy of the matrix. 54]. this treatment.

[48] reported that TDIC-treated oil palm lignin in fibers. it was reported that isocyanate treatment was more effective than silane treatment in enhancing the mechanical Fig. phenolic functions is given as Eq. Comparing silane and isocyanate-treated wood fiber–PS composites. 2 The reaction pathway for the preparation of urethane properties of cellulose fiber–PS composites [63]. in sodium chlorite Fig. 40]. [65] dipped untreated sisal fiber. Sree- derivative of cardanol [23] kala et al. thus altering the fiber surface topography. The reaction between phenyl this treatment removed non-crystalline constituents of isocyanate (C6H5NCO) and surface carboxyl and the fibers. it could delignify ligno- cellulosics. George et al. Other chemical treatments where R could be different chemical groups (such as Stearic acid (CH3(CH2)16COOH) in ethyl alcohol alkyl). Wu et al.4-diisocyanate (TDIC) and formed one free isocyanate group for further reaction (Fig. Isocyanate is reported to work as a fiber–PF composites had lower tensile strength and coupling agent used in fiber-reinforced composites [10.J Polym Environ (2007) 15:25–33 31 nate (CTDIC) in sisal fiber–LDPE composites. It was demonstrated that CTDIC reduced the hydrophilic nature of the sisal fiber (Fig. for use treatment of cardanol derivative of toluene diisocya. The reaction between fiber and isocyanate alkaline-treated fiber–PF composites. Young’s modulus than permanganate-. in sisal–PS biocomposites. [61] investigated the grafting of solution was investigated in fiber treatment by Paul isocyanate-terminated elastomers onto the surfaces of et al. Studies have been conducted wherein it was used in fiber surface treatment for composites. 3 A possible reaction between the free isocyanate groups in CTDIC and cellulosic sisal fiber [23] 123 . 2). 3). thereby enhancing the tensile properties of the sisal fiber–LDPE composites. but had higher coupling agent is shown below [16]: tensile strength and similar Young’s modulus with silane-and acrylic acid-treated fiber–PF composites. [10] and Zafeiropoulos [64]. Zafeiropoulos [64] also observed that treated flax fibers were more crystalline than the untreated ones and stearation decreased the fiber surface free energy. Joseph and Thomas [23] studied the chemical Mishra et al. peroxide-and 23. CTDIC was prepared by cardanol and toluene-2. 15. Sodium chlorite (NaClO2) usually is used in bleaching fibers. however. It was reported that carbon fibers (CF). [62] treated pineapple leaf fiber with polymethylene-polyphenyl-isocyanate (C15H10N2O2) solution at 50C for 30 min to improve the fiber– matrix interfacial adhesion.

chemical treatments E. Mishra S. acetic acid. Olayo R (1999). Oksman K. Polym Test 20:885 fiber–PE composites. Soergel F (2003). Surface treatments. Schenzel K. Tipathy SS (2003). Keller A (2003). van de Weyenberg I. Rowell JK (1997) Paper and low density. Saxena NS. Rouison D. Compos A: Appl Sci Manuf financial support from the Natural Sciences & Engineering 32:607 Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. Beaumont PWR. Fiber modifi. Ray D (2004). Mohini MS (2003). Sham ML. Resour Conserv Recycl Natural fibers are considered as potential replacement 39:325 for man-made fibers in composite materials. 9. Parija S. Mohanty AK. (2001). Kim JK. Macromol Mater Eng 286:107 23. Smit HHG. maleated coupling agents. Biomaterials 24:2245 chlorite was also reported by Li et al. van de Velde K. Therefore. Bandyopadhyay S (2003). Garcia-Jaldon C. isocyanates. Misra M. Ray D. Baley C (2002). posites to reduce the number of cellulose hydroxyl Compos A: Appl Sci Manuf 35:363 13. Mohanty AK. 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But it was 3. they are not totally free of problems. de Klerk B (2001). etc. Bose NR (2001). are potentially able to Sci 24:129 overcome the problem of incompatibility. Sreekala MS natural fibers. Cheng MHW. Vepoes I (2003). 14. Mohd Ishak ZA. 5. Compos Sci Technol 57(1):67 tives (eg. Norman W (2004) Natural fibers plastics and Conclusion composites. 12. Cervantes-Uc JM. Herrera- the fiber. Mishra S. Compos Sci cellulose fibers. Muhammad P. Compos A: Appl Sci Manuf 33:939 groups which are available for water uptake [58]. Varughese KT (2004). 27. Similar result on Mater Process Technol 139:140 7. Thomas S (1997). Drzal LT (2003). Composites Sci Technol 63:1307 the fiber lowered its tensile strength [65]. Wielage B. silane. Compos Sci fiber fitness and fiber–matrix adhesion in natural fiber- Technol 64:955 reinforced composites. Selin JF (2003). Rana AK. 34. Senawi R (2001). Nayak SK. Skrifvars M. Valadez-Gonzalez A. Akin DE potassium permanganate. Schro¨der MW. Diepenbrock adhesion by chemically coupling the adhesive to the W (2002). Polymer 37:5139 tween the fiber and matrix. Kiekens P (2001). Therefore. 10. New York 17. Cheang P (2003). Wu J (2001). Wibowo A. Frederick TW. Sharma HSS. Kiekens P (2002). van de Velde K. these can be used in the Technol 64:629 modification of vegetable fiber for natural fiber com. Misra M. Olayo R. Agrawal R. Mohanty AK. Mohanty AK treatments can increase the interface adhesion be. Sharma KB. Yet most chemical treatments have achieved Franco PJ (1999). 32. Fu¨ting M. Archibald DD. J more hydrophobic and tougher [65]. Agriculture and Agri. Compos Sci Technol 63:1377 Acknowledgments The authors would like to acknowledge the 33. References Tensile strength of bleached sisal fiber–PS composite was less than other chemical treated fiber composites 1. Tang SM. Baetens absorption of fibers. and Peijs T (2003). 37:1635 123 . Some compounds are known to promote (2000). 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