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Saravana Bavan D.1, Mohan Kumar G C.2 1,2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Karnataka. Surathkal, Mangalore, India. E-mail: email@example.com
Abstract Natural fiber plays a vital role in the new era of bio-composites because of its interesting features that makes it prominence in all fields. Bio composites are formed by binding natural fibers derived from plants or cellulose using organic binders. There are number of factors which influence the properties of natural fiber composites, among them mechanical properties play an important role in bringing out the shape of composites. This paper gives an overview of specific physical and mechanical properties of natural fiber composites like maximum bending stress, modulus of elasticity, tensile stress and dimensional stability performance and the other new exciting methods. Key words: Bio-composites, Mechanical Properties, Bio- polymers, Rule of mixtures 1. Introduction In this new technological era, we are faced with number of environmental problems and these concerns continue to prompt research in bio-fields. There is a growing interest for the use of natural fibers in composite applications, where the cellulose fibers act as reinforcement of polymeric matrix. Natural fibers have been around for a very long time, from the beginning of the life on Earth. A renaissance in the use of natural fibers as reinforcements in technical applications began in 90s of 20th century. The archeological artifacts suggest that human beings used these materials in fabrics many thousand years ago. As early as 1908, the first composite materials were applied for the fabrication of large quantities of sheets, tubes and pipes for electronic purposes (paper or cotton to reinforce sheets, made of phenol- or melamine-formaldehyde resins). It may seem surprising, but first natural fiber composites were used more than 100 years ago for construction purposes and also in late 90’s Henry ford worked in soya bean composites for automobile industries. Synthetic fibers such as carbon, glass or aramid are now finding a substitute for this, due to the high cost and re-cycle. Recent advances in the use of natural fibers in composites have been reviewed by several authors [1, 2].The advantage of the natural fiber composite materials over synthetic fibers like aramide, carbon or glass fiber include their acceptable specific strength properties, low density, low cost, non-abrasive, good thermal and acoustic properties, can be thermally recycled (posses a good calorific value and enhanced energy recovery . Furthermore they provide excellent insulation against heat and noise  which increased the value of these bio-fibers. The usage of bio-fibers as reinforcing fibers in both thermoplastic and thermoset composites provide positive response to such environmental issues through their ultimate biodegradability and as annually renewable raw material. However, natural fibers also have an undesirable property, namely, hygroscope because of their chemical constituents. The moisture absorption by composites containing natural fibers has several adverse effects on their properties and thus affects their long-term performance and has a few draw backs in processing of composites. Most of Natural fiber composites are
henequen and pineapple fiber). textiles. 2.short fiber composites with non-homogeneous length and orientation distributions. jute and hemp). kapok). Most of the elementary fiber consists of oriented. grass/ stem (reed grass. The crystalline cellulose fibrils in the cell wall are oriented at an angle of about ±10 degrees with the fiber axis [3. It is known that elastic modulus and the strength of discontinuous fiber composites are moderate compared to continuous fiber-reinforced composites. Application of natural fiber finds application in automobile industries. and mineral fiber. Classification and Structure of Natural Fibers Fibers can be classified in to two main groups: manmade and natural. and diameters between 10 and 25 µm. All plant fibers are composed of cellulose while animal fibers consist of proteins. construction. 5] and give the fiber its high tensile strength. Agricultural residuals such as wheat straw. and electronics. The technical fibers consist of elementary fibers with lengths generally between 2 and 5 cm. They are not circular but a polyhedron with 5 to 7 sides to improve the packing in the technical fiber. seed (cotton. Generally. cereal straw) and wood fibers (soft and hard wood). Chemical structure of cellulose monomer is shown in Figure 2.Classification of Natural fiber composites The main polymers involved in the composition of plant fibers are cellulose. 2 . rice straw and corn stalks are also sources of plant fibers but they have a lower cellulose content compared to wood. ramie. The elementary fibers are glued together by a pectin interface. aero-space. highly crystalline cellulose fibrils and amorphous hemi cellulose. bast (flax. lignin and pectin. Plant fiber can be divided depending on their sources: leaf (sisal. The classification of natural fibers is shown in figure 1. packaging material. natural fibers are basically grouped into three different types like plant fiber. Natural fibers Animal Plant Mineral Bast Leaf Seed Wood Grass/ Stem Figure 1. hemicelluloses. The combination of interesting mechanical and physical properties together with their sustainable character has triggered various activities in the area of green composites. animal fiber.
high performance adhesives. are often biodegradable.. 2. These hydroxyls form hydrogen bonds inside the macromolecule itself (intra molecular) and between other cellulose macromolecules (intermolecular) as well as with hydroxyl groups from moist air [5. Chemical structure of cellulose monomer Cellulose is the main component of vegetable fibers (jute is approximately 64 wt %). 6.g. e. natural fats or oils. Depending to the evolution of the synthesis process. e.g. The elementary unit of a cellulose macromolecule is anhydro-dglucose. properties and morphology. sugars. First 3 categories are obtained from renewable resources: 1. or chemically synthesized from biological starting materials (e. high specific strength and modulus. durability in adverse environments. poly lactic acid.Figure 2. and not toxic to produce. starch. Ligno cellulosics are degraded biologically because organisms recognize the carbohydrate polymers (mainly the hemicelluloses) in the cell wall and have very specific enzyme systems capable of hydrolyzing these polymers into digestible units. which contains three hydroxyls (-OH).. Polymers from biomass such as the agro polymers from agro-resources (e. poly hydroxyl . Biopolymers are an alternative to petroleum-based polymers (traditional plastics). Cellulose content of other fibers is shown in table 1. 11]. ease of fiber surface modification and wide availability. The distinct cells of hard plant fibers are bonded together by lignin. Fiber technology. etc. starch.Cellulose content of Some Fibers Type of Fiber Kenaf Acacia Banana 3. Degree of polymerization is also an important characteristic of vegetable fiber.g. and fiber modification can be used to manufacture structural lignocellulosic composites with uniform densities. Table 1.) [9. 11].. different classifications of the different biodegradable polymers have been proposed [9. micro-organisms. These fibers have many advantages such as low density. Polymers conventionally and chemically synthesized and the monomers are obtained from agro-resources. 7]. They can be produced by biological systems (i. 10. The lignin content of plant fibers influences its structure. relative non-abrasiveness.g. Polymers obtained by microbial production. Bio-Polymers Biopolymers are polymers that are generated from renewable natural sources. and high strength. plants and animals). 3. Cellulose (%) 45-60 15-30 45-50 cellulose).alkanoates. acting as a cementing material. 3 .e. The use of ligno cellulosic fibers in plastic composites is of great interest because such fibers can serve as a good reinforce and or filler for synthetic polymers to enhance certain properties while reducing material cost .
23]. 18]. 4. whether the fibers are. That is because of their chemical structure – the hemicelluloses and the pectin are very hydrophilic [11. such as stretching. The most important chemical modification involves coupling methods. 7] Properties Density (g/cm3) Tensile strength 10E6N/m2 E-modulus (Gpa) Elongation at failure (%) Moisture absorption Flax 1. However. Improved Properties of Mechanical Models All the plant fibers are hydrophilic in nature. thermo treatment. proportion of crystalline fibrils and non-crystalline regions.2-1.55 2400 73 3 - 5. Single fiber fragmentation test is a common method used to measure adhesion quantitatively.g. size of pores). do not change the chemical composition or structure only surface properties of the fiber [15. crystal structure (type of cellulose.6 7 Coir 1. To improve the properties of the composites. Only thermo sets such as phenol formaldehyde and related polymers are less hydrophobic and are therefore less problematic . compatibilizers or other chemical modifications are used to improve the moisture resistance of composites [20. Moisture absorption increases with increasing fiber loading and increased moisture decreases their mechanical properties . The bonds formed are covalent and hydrogen bonds which improve the interfacial adhesion . orientation of the chains of non-crystalline cellulose and crystalline fibrils). 4 . due to natural origin they show much higher variability of the various parameters than their synthetic counterparts .4 800-1500 60-80 1.33 600-700 38 2-3 11 E-glass 2. degree of polymerization. taken from the plant stem. cold plasma).4. leaf or seed and on the growing (climate)conditions. void structure (pore volume. defects. Polymers whose monomers and polymers are obtained conventionally. Coupling agents. electronic discharge (corona. specific interface. structure (e.46 400-800 10-30 1. the natural reinforcing fibers can be modified by physical and chemical methods.25 220 6 15-25 10 Jute 1. Physical methods. the diffusion theory has been applied to understand the mechanism of moisture absorption in composites [22. Table 2 shows that natural fibers comparison with E-glass. which can react with the fiber and the polymer. The coupling agent used contains chemical groups.8 12 Sisal 1. Traditionally. spiral angle). 14]. calendaring. Table 2. and finally. 21]. Comparison of the properties of natural fibers and glass fibers [1. supra molecular structure (degree of crystallinity). 16]. by chemical synthesis. The properties of natural fibers vary considerably depending on the fiber diameter. harvesting conditions and processing [13. Properties of Natural Fibers Composites The natural fibers are basically characterized by the same parameters and properties as all other fibers. However. moisture absorption of composites is still one a major concern especially for their outdoor application. 6.
Models like Cox-Krenchel. Ef and Em and fiber volume fraction Vf by a rule of mixtures type of relationship. fiber response becomes linear. These rules are generally based on n the rule of mixtures. small strain part of the diagram is attributed to the orientation of the fibrils along the axis of the fiber under load. strength theory for short fiber composites can also be used. In comparison to the stiffness. misaligned short fiber composite strength has. At larger load/strain values. Figure 3. The apparent variation of tangent modulus with strain confined mostly to the initial. length efficiency factor ηls is related to critical or ineffective fiber length. Theoretical and experimental researches have dealt with calculations of the tensile strength and the Young’s modulus of fiber composites.The mechanical properties in a composite depend mostly on the fiber content and orientation. Composite modulus E is related to fiber and matrix moduli. 29] approach. It is true for short fibers reinforced composites due to the multiplication of interfaces. but σm . Where. Shear lag models were the first micromechanics models for short fiber composites. Considering the rule of mixtures. and we use the linear part of diagram for Young’s modulus calculation [33. 34].Typical stress-strain curve of natural flax fiber A typical stress-strain diagram of an elementary fiber is shown in figure 3. Kelly-Tyson have been used for these calculations. and also on the quality of the load transfer between the matrix and the reinforcement. Another direct method. Hence it came to an agreement between the theoretical approaches and the practical results are a reliable and exact measurement of tensile strength sand modulus of the reinforcing element.stress in the matrix at the fiber failure strain. 5 . Usually they are implemented by combining the average stress in the fiber with average matrix stress to construct a modified rule of mixtures. Classical shear lag models also predict the longitudinal modulus and they are very popular due to their algebraic and physical simplicity . is loop test. Using this method it is possible to determine both tensile and compressive strength of fibers. For all the models. Recently. It is verified that Weibull distribution is applicable to approximate strength distribution of natural fibers. Most of the strength models are also based on the rule of mixtures [25-27] or equivalent laminate [28. σuf is fiber strength. although less popular. ηls and ηos are fiber length efficiency factor and fiber orientation efficiency factor for strength calculation respectively. All models and composite equations contain the E-modulus or the tensile strength of the reinforcing fibers. more complicated models have been advanced [30-32] that employ numerical modeling of deformation and failure. It is also related to the strength of the interface and consequently to the quality of bonding between the matrix and the fibers .
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