Effect of glass fiber hybridization on the mechanical properties of unidirectional, alkali?treated kenaf?epoxy composites

Due to environmental issues and high cost of synthetic fibers, natural or cellulosic fibers have emerged as a promising reinforcement for polymer composites. The hybridization of natural fiber with synthetic fiber is a useful technique to improve the mechanical properties instead of using the natural fibers alone. This research aims to evaluate the influence of glass fiber hybridization on the mechanical properties of continuous, unidirectional, alkali (NaOH)?treated kenaf?epoxy composites. At first, the effect of treatment of various concentrations (3, 5, 7, and 9% w/v) of NaOH on the structure of single kenaf fiber was characterized using XRD, SEM, FTIR, and tensile testing. At the optimum 5% alkali concentration the tensile strength, modulus, and %elongation of the kenaf fibers were enhanced by 81%, 114%, and 42%, respectively. The effect of hybridization of 5% NaOH treated kenaf along with glass fiber on the improvement in tensile, flexural, and impact properties for hand laid kenaf?glass?epoxy hybrid composite laminates was established. The overall matrix to fiber weight ratio of five different layup sequence laminates was maintained constant at 70:30. It can be concluded from the obtained results that the 15% glass and 15% kenaf fiber hybridized composites exhibited the maximum increment in tensile strength and modulus (68.5% and 19.5%, respectively) in comparison to the unhybridized composites. Further, the flexural strength and modulus were also improved by 21% and 67%, respectively, and the impact strength by 153%. The SEM fractography proved that alkali treatment of fibers improved the fiber?matrix interfacial bonding whereas fiber breakage, fiber pull?out and debonding were established as the main fracture mechanisms of hybrid composites. The findings of the present investigation on kenaf?glass hybrid composites corroborate that they are suitable for secondary structural applications in construction and automobile sectors.

» Publication Date: 25/06/2022

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 768737


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