Pickering, K. L., Li, Y., Farrell, R. L. & Lay, M. (2007). Interfacial modification of hemp fiber reinforced composites using fungal and alkali treatment. Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, 1(1), 109-117.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3218
Increasing worldwide environmental awareness is encouraging scientific research into developing cheaper, more sustainable materials. Industrial hemp fiber is one of the strongest and stiffest available natural fibers [K. L. Pickering, M. Priest, T. Watts, G. Beckermann, and S. N. Alam, J. Adv. Mater. 37, 15 (2005)] and therefore has great potential in composite materials. Incorporated into a thermoplastic matrix, it gives a structural material that is cheap, lightweight, and recyclable. However, natural fibers are commonly incompatible with common molding thermoplastics such as polypropylene, which limits the performance of the composites produced. The main objective of the current work was to investigate the use of fungi to treat hemp fiber to create better bonding characteristics in natural fiber reinforced polypropylene composites. X-ray diffraction (XRD), ζ-potential, lignin testing, thermal analysis, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to characterize the effect of treatment on hemp fibers. A combined alkali and fungi treated fiber composite produced the highest tensile strength of 48.3 MPa, an increase of 32% compared to composites with untreated fiber.
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