Islam, M.S., Pickering, K.L. & Foreman, N.J. (2010). Influence of alkali fiber treatment and fiber processing on the mechanical properties of hemp/epoxy composites. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 119(6), 3696-3707.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5040
Industrial hemp fibers were treated with a 5 wt % NaOH, 2 wt % Na₂SO₃ solution at 120°C for 60 min to remove noncellulosic fiber components. Analysis of fibers by lignin analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), zeta potential, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXRD) and differential thermal/thermogravimetric analysis (DTA/TGA), supported that alkali treatment had (i) removed lignin, (ii) separated fibers from their fiber bundles, (iii) exposed cellulose hydroxyl groups, (iv) made the fiber surface cleaner, and (v) enhanced thermal stability of the fibers by increasing cellulose crystallinity through better packing of cellulose chains. Untreated and alkali treated short (random and aligned) and long (aligned) hemp fiber/epoxy composites were produced with fiber contents between 40 and 65 wt %. Although alkali treatment generally improved composite strength, better strength at high fiber contents for long fiber composites was achieved with untreated fiber, which appeared to be due to less fiber/fiber contact between alkali treated fibers. Composites with 65 wt % untreated, long aligned fiber were the strongest with a tensile strength (TS) of 165 MPa, Young's modulus (YM) of 17 GPa, flexural strength of 180 MPa, flexural modulus of 9 GPa, impact energy (IE) of 14.5 kJ/m², and fracture toughness (KIc) of 5 MPa m1/2