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(ME 328)

1. Aniket Singh [ 2K16/ME/23 ]

2. Ankit Singh [ 2k16/ME/28 ]
3. Anubhav Singh Yadav [ 2K16/ME/29 ]
4. Devesh Rajput [ 2K16/ME/54 ]
Apart from individual efforts, the success of
any project depends largely on the
encouragement and guidelines of many others. I
take this opportunity to express my gratitude
to the people who have been instrumental in the
successful completion of this project.
We, students of Mechanical Engineering 3rd
year, of Delhi Technological University (DTU),
Delhi would like to express our deep gratitude
to MR. VIKAS RASTOGI who gave us an opportunity
to make this project.
Development of natural fibre composites with
thermoplastics and thermosets finds applications in
various fields, from agriculture to automotive. It can
reduce the dependency on petroleum resources which
causes several environmental problems. Natural fibers
are renewable and biodegradable that reduces carbon
footprint to the environment. Coir fibers are natural
fibers used in the development of composites offers
comparable properties with other mineral fillers. This
article reviews different methods of coir fibre
modification include alkali treatment, silane
treatment, hydrogen peroxide treatment, sodium
hypochlorite treatment, sodium periodate treatment
coupled with paminophenol and urea, treatment with
benzene diazonium salt and maleated coupling agent. It
also reviews composites of coir fibre with
thermoplastic, rubber and thermoset plastics. Hybrid
composites based on coir fibre are also being discussed.
Thermoplastic composites such as biodegradable (PLA,
PBS) and petroleum-based polymers (PE, PP) and
thermoset polymers include polyurethane, epoxy and
polyester based composites also reviewed. Degradation
and biodegradation studies were reviewed in the case of
biodegradable polymers. Hybrid fibers of coir with
other natural and mineral fibers have recently been
used in composite industry has also been reviewed. All
these composites show better properties. It can be used
in different applications in the field of automobile,
building and construction, consumer products and
Recently, natural fibers have attracted a great
attention due to its biodegradability and renewability.
Apart from their increasing cost and rising scarcity,
the problems caused by the increased use of
nonbiodegradable, petroleum-based plastics impelled the
researchers to develop an easily degradable and
environment-friendly composite materials with better
mechanical properties.
Natural fibre reinforced biocomposites will become more
crucial in the near future since they have shown better
mechanical properties, chemical resistance, lower cost
of production, low density, better strength, CO2
neutrality, biodegradability, abundant availability,
and ease in processing. The mechanical, electrical, and
chemical properties of natural fibers depend mainly on
their chemical composition and internal structure.
Natural fibre has high cellulose content and a low
microfibrillar angle. This imparts high mechanical
strength, enabling it to be used as reinforcement in
polymer composites. As opposed to conventional fibre
reinforced composites, eco-friendly composites can be
derived from natural fibers. The use of natural fibers
in composites reduce the cost of materials and increases
their sustainability. They have excellent specific
strength and high modulus, safe manufacturing process,
and density. Besides, they are significantly lighter
than glass, with a density of 1.15 to 1.50 g/cm3 whereas
2.4 g/cm3 for E-glass . These advantages make natural
fibers vital for industries like the automotive sector,
which require lightweight, nontoxic, labor-friendly
materials with good mechanical properties.
Recently, the materials research community and industry
have shown great interest in coir fibre composites. A
wide range of research has been carried out on fibre
reinforced polymer composites on account of the
potential advantages of coir fibers, such as low
specific weight, low cost, easy processing, and good
thermal and acoustic insulating properties. Currently,
a variety of applications for coir have progressively
become available. These include Geo-textiles, household
materials and as a reinforcement material for plastics.
This is a growing area where coir fibers incorporated
into plastics have thereby become more environmentally
friendly materials, especially useful in building and
automotive industries. This can replace glass fibers in
composite materials and are widely used in the car
industry for interiors, door panels, and bumpers. This
serves the interests of the automotive industry, which
has recently aimed for the production of more
environment-friendly vehicles. Hence, the
biodegradability of coir fibers will gain even greater
importance in the next decade with the progressive
introduction of fully sustainable composites. Such
composites can be manufactured by introducing coir
fibre in a biodegradable polymer matrix to replace
petroleumderived polymers.
Coir Fibre Reinforced Epoxy Composites
The wear behaviour of treated and untreated coir fibre
reinforced epoxy composites was investigated with the
Taguchi Method. It was observed that treated fibre
reinforced composites showed better abrasive behaviour
than the untreated one. Moreover, abrasive behaviour,
decreased with increasing the amount of coir dust.
Harish evaluated the mechanical property of natural coir
composites of epoxy matrix. The tensile, flexural, and
impact strength values of coir/epoxy composites were
compared with glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP).
The result revealed that the GFRP was considerably
stronger than coir/epoxy composites and qualitative
evaluation of the interfacial properties using
fractography confirmed it. Karthikeyan et al. [96]
investigated the effect of chemical modification of coir
fibers by sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) treatment on the
impact property of coir fibre reinforced epoxy
composites fabricated by hand lay-up technique. 2%, 4%,
6%, 8%, and 10% SLS were used for the treatment and the
length of the coir fibers were 10, 20, and 30 mm. They
observed that 6% SLS treated fibre reinforced composite
showed better improvement in impact properties compared
with NaOH-treated reinforced composites.

Rubber Composites
Short coir fibre reinforced natural rubber composites
were developed and investigated the effects of fibre
length, orientation, and alkali treatment on mechanical
properties and processability characteristics. They
pointed out that mechanical properties of the composites
were superior in the longitudinal direction than in the
transverse direction. It was concluded that the optimum
length of coir fibre was found to be 10 mm. The alkali
treated fibers showed better-reinforcing property
compared with the untreated one. SEM and anisotropic
swelling studies confirmed this. It was also studied
the dynamic mechanical behaviour of natural rubber and
its composites reinforced with short coir fibers. It
was observed that maxima in tan d, E00, and the middle
point of the E0 versus temperature curve of the gum-
natural rubber compound at 1 and 10 Hz almost coincided
with one another. However, in the case of composites,
the maxima in tan d and E00 did not coincide. In
addition, the values of E0, E00, and tan d of the gum
increase with fibre incorporation, indicate lower heat
dissipation in gum. They pointed out that a composite
with poor interfacial bonding tend to dissipate more
energy than the composite with good interfacial bonding.
Damping studies revealed that these composites are good
elastomeric compounds at higher temperatures. The
stress relaxation behaviour of natural rubber (NR) and
its composites reinforced with short coir fibers under
tension was analysed. It was noted that the relaxation
mechanisms of both the unfilled compound and the
composite were influenced by the strain rate, fibre
loading and fibre orientation. From the result, it was
found that fibre–rubber adhesion was best in the
composite containing alkali treated, toluene di-
isocyanate and NR solutions along with a hex resorcinol
system as a bonding agent.
Coir Fibre Reinforced Hybrid Composites
Natural fibers can be mixed with thermosetting or
thermoplastic polymer matrix to make composites.
Nowadays, hybrid composites are getting significant
attention due to their superior combination properties
and less expense. With respect to a single fibre
reinforced composites, hybrid composites showed a
synergistic property.

Sisal/Coconut Coir Natural Fibres

Epoxy Composites In order to study the water absorption
behaviour on mechanical properties of sisal/coconut
coir-epoxy composites, water immersion test was
conducted. They investigated that water absorption
behaviour increased with increasing fibre content due
to the hydrophilic nature of sisal and coir fibre and
the formation of micro voids in a composite structure.
A significant decrease in tensile strength was observed
in the case of wet sample as compared with dry samples.
This may be attributed to the fact that the absorbed
water molecules by the composite reduced the
intermolecular hydrogen bonding thereby decreased the
intermolecular attraction between fibers and polymer

Jute–Coir Hybrid Fibre Reinforced Epoxy

Novolac Composites
It was prepared and characterized chemically
modified Jute–Coir Hybrid fibre reinforced epoxy
novolac composites and observed the effect of
surface modification and composition of hybrid fibre
on the properties of composites. Cellulose rich jute
fibers were modified by alkali treatment and lignin
rich coir fibers were oxidized with sodium chlorite.
It is also treated with furfuryl alcohol to generate
a coating around the fibre more compatible with epoxy
resins. Composite containing the jute–coir content of
50:50 showed an improvement in the properties. It was
observed that the hybrid jute–coir fibers reinforced
exhibited greater mechanical, dynamic, mechanical, and
water absorption properties as compared with un-
hybridized composites. In addition, by the
incorporation of modified fibre thermal stability was
also enhanced. This is due to the presence of better
interlocking between the chemically modified fibre and
epoxy novolac resin confirmed from SEM analysis. The
optimum volume fraction of jute–coir hybrid fibers was
50:50 which showed maximum composite properties. At
higher loads of fibers, poor wetting was noticed thereby
decreased the properties of composites.

Hybrid Blended Coconut Coir/Paraffin

Rassiah et al. evaluated effect on mechanical properties
of hybrid blended coconut coir/paraffin wax/ LDPE. 6
wt% coconut coir with 4 wt% wax mixed with LDPE showed
optimum tensile strength and hardness. However, the
impact strength reduced by the incorporation of coconut
coir/paraffin wax in LDPE. This is attributed to the
fact that the compound is both hard and ductile at the
same time.

Coir/Sisal/Jute Fibers Reinforced

Polyester Composites
Dixit and Verma investigated the effect of hybridized
fibers on mechanical behaviour of coir and sisal
reinforced polyester composite (CSRP), coir and jute
reinforced polyester composite (CJRP), jute and sisal
reinforced polyester composite (JSRP). Compression
molding technique was used to fabricate the composite.
The tensile and flexural properties of hybrid composites
were significantly improved as compared with unhybrid
composites. Reduction in water absorption behaviour was
also noticed in the case of hybrid composites.

Coconut and Jute Fibers Reinforced

Polystyrene/ Polypropylene
Hatta and Akmar investigated the effect of mechanical
properties of PS/PP on reinforcement of coir and jute
fibers. It was observed that jute fibre reinforced
composites had higher tensile strength than coconut
fibre reinforced composites due to superior mechanical
properties of single fibre. Conversely, young’s modulus
was increased in the case of coconut fibre reinforced
composite. This may be probably due to the low cellulose
content of the coir fibre resulted in an inability to
transfer stress from fibre to matrix.

Coir-Glass Intermingled Fibre Hybrid

Pavithran prepared coir-glass intermingled fibre hybrid
composites. By the incorporation of 0.05 volume fraction
glass fibre in coir fibre reinforced polyester
composites containing 0.3% volume fraction of coir
showed a superior enhancement in tensile strength and
flexural strength by 100% and more than 50%

Coir/Glass Fibre Phenolic Resin Based

Mechanical performance of coir/glass fibre phenolic
resin based composites was investigated as a function
of fibre content and fibre volume fraction by Kumar .
The optimum result was noticed in the case of 20 mm
fibre length and 40 wt% fibre loading. 2% NaOH treated
coir fibre for 1 h at room temperature showed
significant improvement for adhesion between fibre and
matrix. It is noted that the tensile strength and
modulus of the composite increased linearly with
increase in glass fibre. This is due to high strength
and modulus offered by the glass fibre. Similar aspect
was observed in the case of treated coir/glass
composites. Flexural properties also increased with
increasing fibre content. However, at higher fibre
loading it decreased.



Coir fibre is obtained from coconut husk which grows

widely in coastal areas of South Asia, such as the
Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
Around 85% of the weight of coconut is litter consisting
of fibre, husk etc. Coir fibre is thick, bristly, and
lignocellulosic fibre. Over 50% of the total world
production is consumed in the countries of origin. India
is the leading consumer. However, only a small
percentage of the total world production of coconut husk
is used for coir products. Research and development have
been focused on this with the progress to utilize this
coir in polymer composites. As a result, coir fibers
are now used in the fabrication of helmet and
bulletproof jackets. Their remarkable mechanical
properties offer a wide scope for future research and
possibilities for a variety of industrial applications.
As already noted, one of the main applications of coir
fibre reinforced composites is in the automotive
industry where it used to make seat cushions for
Mercedes automobiles. However, in spite of advantageous
properties, the coir fibre composites show some
undesirable properties such as dimensional instability,
flammability that make it unsuitable for high
temperature application, and degradability under
humidity, ultraviolet lights as well as acids and bases.



Coir fiber has great demand in the automotive industry

because it is hard-wearing, tough, acoustic resistant,
moth-proof, nontoxic, resistant to microbial and fungi
degradation, and comparatively non-combustible than
other natural fibers. Moreover, they are more resistant
to moisture than other natural fibers.
The major disadvantages associated with natural fibers
are their hydrophilic nature, low thermal stability,
and low degradation temperature. But due to their
lightweight, nontoxic, biodegradable, and low CO2
emission, natural fibers find their applications in
various fields. Low strength of the natural fiber as
compared with glass fibers and the water absorption
characteristics are the foremost issues currently
limits the large scale production of natural fiber
reinforced composites.


To improve the interfacial properties, coir fiber is
subjected to different types of chemical treatments such
as mercerization, dewaxing, bleaching, acrylation,
acetylation, cyanoethylation, silane treatment,
benzoylation, peroxide treatment, isocyanate treatment,
latex coating, and steam-explosion. The main objective
of the modification or treatment of fiber is the
selective removal of non-cellulosic compounds, thereby
getting cellulose-rich fibers which impart better

Chemical Modification
Chemical modification is effected through the chemical
reaction between some reactive constituents of the coir
fiber and a chemical reagent, with or without a
catalyst, resulting in a covalent bond between the fiber
and chemical reagent. At temperatures below 1508C, the
chemicals must be capable of reacting with
lignocellulosic hydroxyls under neutral, mild alkaline
or acid conditions. Alkaline Treatment. This is one of
the most widely used chemical treatments of natural
fibers. The modification formed due to the disruption
of hydrogen bonding in the three-dimensional structure
of fiber resulted in an increase in surface roughness.
The alkaline treatment helps to remove waxes, lignin,
etc. on the external surface of the fiber and
depolymerizing the cellulose . Addition of aqueous
sodium hydroxide (aq. NaOH) to natural fiber leads to
an ionization of the hydroxyl group to the alkoxide.
Maleated Coupling Agents
Maleated coupling agents are used with fillers and fiber
reinforcement to strengthen the composites . They also
help to achieve better interfacial bonding and
mechanical properties in composites .Nadir et al. used
MAPP as coupling agents for the surface modification of
coir fibers. It has been found that 60 wt% coir fiber,
37 wt% PP powder, and 3 wt% MAPP offered better
mechanical and flammability properties. The mechanism
of grafting of MAPP with coir fiber is as shown in
Scheme 2.

In order to improve the compatibility between the fiber

and the PP matrix, coir was first treated chemically
with sodium periodate and then with urea . The
mechanical and physical properties of treated coir-PP
composites were found to be better than those of the
untreated one. Improved fiber-matrix interfacial
adhesion and better dispersion have occurred upon
treatment of coir. Treatment of coir with NaIO4 and urea
is shown in Scheme 3.
Benzene Diazonium Salt
In order to improve mechanical properties of the
composites, coir fiber was chemically treated using
benzene diazonium salt. A substantial effect of the
chemical treatment was noticed on the physical and
mechanical properties and microstructural analysis. It
was found that the hydroxyl group in the raw coir is
responsible for high water absorption and weak
interfacial bond between the coir fiber and PP matrix.
The reaction between cellulose in coir fiber and the
diazonium salt is illustrated in Scheme 4 .
Silane Treatment
Abdullah and Ishak immersed the treated and untreated
coir fiber in silane solutions with various
concentrations ranging between 0.25% and 1% w/w for an
hour. The mechanism of silane treatment on coir fiber
is shown in Scheme 5. They reported that the mechanical
and morphological properties showed an improvement upon
chemical treatment, especially for silane on alkali
treated fiber.
The present review focuses on the recent trends and
developments in coir fibre composites in terms of fibre
modification with chemicals such as alkali, silane,
hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, sodium
periodate coupled with p-aminophenol and urea, benzene
diazonium salt, and maleated coupling agent. The
cellulose content of coir fibre is very low as compared
with other natural fibers, but chemical treatment and
interface modification improves its mechanical,
thermal, and other physical properties. Coir fibre is
found to be effective for reinforcement with
thermoplastics, rubbers and thermosets and recent
reports on such systems are reviewed here. Introduction
of hybrid fibers in polymer matrices is also discussed.
Significant improvement of mechanical properties is
reported in the case of composites of PLA, PE, PP, PBS,
polyester, epoxy, and polyurethane with coir fibre. The
water absorption behaviour, thermal and flammability
characteristics of these composites are found to be
affected by the incorporation of coir fibre. The
combined properties of each fibre were observed in the
case of hybrid fibre composites. Hybrid fibre, such as
coir-jute, coir-glass fibre, and coir-silk fibre
composites with different polymer systems are also
reviewed. It can be concluded that there is a vast scope
for the growth of coir fibre in the composite industry.
Very limited studies are carried out in the field of
coir fibre composites till date in comparison with other
natural fibre composites. The ecofriendly nature of coir
fibre and its abundant availability in India increases
its demand in the composite industry.
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