Novel Method to Enhance Natural Fiber Performance in Polymeric Composites
Small Business Information
Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus
3518 Riverside Drive, Ste. 202, Columbus, OH, 43221
AbstractIn recent years there has been considerable interest in using natural plant fibers as reinforcements for plastics. The motivation includes cost, performance-enhancement, and weight-reduction. High- performance, bast fibers such as kenaf, and flax could potentially substitute glass or carbon fibers as reinforcements for plastics. The success of these short fibers as reinforcements in plastics depends on the quality of the bond between the fibers and the resin which is determined by the amount of surface area of the fiber available for bonding. This proposal presents a novel approach to enhance the reinforcement between the bast fiber bundles and the matrix resin during molding of the product. This technology, if feasible, will (1) ¿fibrillate' the fiber bundles for better adhesion with the polymeric resin; (2) disperse the fiber uniformly within the composite product for more consistent properties; (3) reduce the damage to the fiber during fibrillation; and (4) improve the wetting and adhesion of the fiber to the matrix; (5) improve handling and mold filling; and (6) eliminate one pre-processing step to prepare the fiber during manufacture of the composite.
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