Development of continuous Kenaf/PLA composites
Tie, Seng Kah.
Date of Issue2012
School of Materials Science and Engineering
Following the increasing concerns towards the problem of environmental pollution and the rapid decline of petroleum energy, many researches have been done on biodegradable composite materials over the past decades and one of them is kenaf/PLA composites. However, most of the studies were on kenaf/PLA composites with reinforcements in the form of non-woven mats or chopped random-fibre strands. Hence, this project was carried out to explore the less researched continuous kenaf/PLA composites where fibres are continuous and aligned in a single direction. The manufacturing consistency of continuous kenaf/PLA composites has been examined in terms of fibre volume fraction and thermal behaviour. While the mechanical properties of the composites have been characterised through tensile, flexural and short-beam strength testing. Lastly, the effect of simulated environmental degradation on continuous kenaf/PLA composites has also been studied explicitly by putting the composites under various degradation processes such as different duration of weathering, soil treatment and a combination of both. Results suggest that the manufacturing of continuous kenaf/PLA composites is consistent and the fabrication of composites with desired value of fibre volume fraction is possible. Besides, it was found that the introduction of kenaf fibres into neat PLA has very minimal effect on the thermal behaviour of the composites. Lastly, simulated environmental degradation has adverse effect on the mechanical properties of composites as it causes degradation of the kenaf fibres, PLA matrix, as well as the fibre/matrix interface.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University