In a study published in Materials Today: Proceedings, the impact of adding nanoscale SiO2 fillers to kenaf fiber polymeric composites on mechanical properties is investigated. The polymers' compressive, tensile, and impact characteristics were examined.
Study: Investigating mechanical strength of a natural fibre polymer composite using SiO2 nano-filler. Image Credit: Photobank.kiev.ua/Shutterstock.com
Benefits of Using Natural Fibers
Due to the rising appreciation of the need to utilize legitimate resources to replace those created by conventional materials, natural fiber is increasingly being employed as a support or filler element in fabricating composites.
Natural fibers offer a variety of desirable characteristics, including minimal price, sustainability, good mechanical capabilities due to their lower density, and simplicity of treatment thanks to their non-abrasive nature, which enables higher levels of packaging.
Furthermore, natural fibers have grown in favor as a reinforcement element over the past few decades due to their environmentally friendly and limitless properties, lightweight nature, and ease of production.
Artificial polymer composites are difficult to dispose of, and the use of plastic has been restricted in multiple countries. As a consequence, the need for natural fibers has increased across a wide range of businesses.
Reduced Mechanical Strength
Natural fibers are usually made of lignocellulose biomass and possess a high moisture absorption capability, making them appropriate for a wide range of interior purposes such as furnishings, seismic attenuations, packing.
Nonetheless, in terms of mechanical strength, organic fibers still lag behind synthetic fibers significantly.
To achieve the same strength as synthetic fibers, they must undergo a range of chemical processes, hybridizing by using organic and synthetic fibers and interweaving them into many configurations.
Furthermore, the limitations of using reinforcement organic fiber filler elements include their poor adhesion to the matrix due to the fiber's hydrophilic nature and the matrix's murky nature. Consequently, a sub-par fiber-matrix connection is formed, decreasing the strength effect of the fiber and inhibiting force transfer between fibers and matrix material.
The quantity of binding between the polymeric composite matrix and the fibers determines the properties of natural fiber polymer matrix composites.
How to Address this Shortcoming
Historically, chemical approaches have been employed to modify the properties of fibers. Solvents that are organic in nature, such as alkali-based compounds, silane, peroxides, isocyanates, as well as polymer coupling agents, are widely used.
Another method for enhancing the properties of natural fiber reinforced composites is to include particle or powder form filler elements into matrices.
The appropriate combination of matrix elements, fillers, and reinforcement materials may produce a composite with equivalent or even greater properties than typical composite alloys.
In commercial and industrial applications, the use of particle filler materials with polymers is becoming increasingly common.
Fillers are added to polymers to improve their process capability, stiffness, and durability. To address polymer restrictions such as weak stiffness and to utilize them in a variety of applications, synthetic fillers such as silica, alumina, carbon, titania, and fly ash particles in the form of nanoscale particles are routinely used in combination with matrices for forming polymeric nanocomposites.
It is feasible to improve the properties of natural/synthetic fiber composite materials by modifying the matrix using nano-SiO2 filler.
This work aims to experimentally explore the tensile and compressive strength of kenaf fiber reinforced epoxy composite at varied levels of nano-SiO2 filler loading.
A compression molding machine was used to make the composite plates.
Important Findings of the Study
The impact of disbanding nano-SiO2 fillers on the mechanical properties of kenaf fiber epoxy composite was examined by the research team.
In composite, the mass fraction of nano-filler was selected to be 0%, 1%, 2%, 3%, and 4%.
The highest tensile strength of the composite was found with 2% nanofiller, which was substantially greater than that of the regular composite.
Similarly, nano-SiO2 fillers at 2% mass in composites improved compressive and impact strengths. Overall, the 2 percent fraction of nano-SiO2 filler was shown to be the optimal content in the kenaf fiber epoxy composite.
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Jotiram, G. A., Palai, B. K., et al. (2022). Investigating mechanical strength of a natural fibre polymer composite using SiO2 nano-filler. Materials Today: Proceedings. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214785322002048?via%3Dihub