Performance of natural polymer composites with Nano-SiO2 filler

In a study published in Materials Today: Proceedings, the impact of adding SiO at the nanoscale2 loads to polymer composites of kenaf fibers on the mechanical properties is investigated. Compressive, tensile and impact characteristics of polymers were examined.

Study: Study of the mechanical resistance of a polymer composite with natural fibers using a SiO2 nano-filler. Image Credit: Photobank.kiev.ua/Shutterstock.com

Benefits of using natural fibers

Due to the growing appreciation of the need to use legitimate resources to replace those created by conventional materials, natural fiber is increasingly being used as a carrier or filler in the manufacture of composites.

Natural fibers offer a variety of desirable characteristics including minimum price, durability, good mechanical capabilities due to their low density, and ease of processing due to their non-abrasive nature, which allows for higher packaging levels.

In addition, natural fibers have gained popularity as a reinforcing element in recent decades due to their ecological and limitless properties, their lightness and their ease of production.

Man-made polymer composites are difficult to dispose of and the use of plastic has been restricted in several countries. As a result, the need for natural fibers has increased across a wide range of businesses.

Reduced mechanical resistance

Natural fibers are usually made of lignocellulosic biomass and possess a high moisture absorption capacity making them suitable for a wide range of interior uses such as upholstery, seismic mitigation, packaging.

Nevertheless, in terms of mechanical strength, organic fibers still lag significantly behind synthetic fibers.

To achieve the same strength as synthetic fibers, they must undergo a range of chemical processes, hybridize using organic and synthetic fibers and intertwine them in many configurations.

Further, limitations in the use of reinforcing organic fiber fillers include their poor adhesion to the matrix due to the hydrophilic nature of the fiber and the hazy nature of the matrix. Consequently, a lower than normal fiber-matrix connection is formed, decreasing the drag effect of the fiber and inhibiting the transfer of force between the fibers and the matrix material.

The amount of bond between the polymer composite matrix and the fibers determines the properties of natural fiber polymer matrix composites.

How to remedy this shortcoming

Historically, chemical approaches have been used to modify fiber properties. Solvents of organic nature such as alkaline compounds, silanes, peroxides, isocyanates as well as polymer coupling agents are widely used.

Another method to improve the properties of natural fiber reinforced composites is to include particulate or powder fillers in matrices.

The proper combination of matrix elements, fillers and reinforcing materials can produce a composite with properties equivalent or even superior to those of typical composite alloys.

In commercial and industrial applications, the use of particulate fillers with polymers is becoming increasingly common.

Fillers are added to polymers to improve their processability, stiffness and durability. To address polymer restrictions such as low stiffness and for use in a variety of applications, synthetic fillers such as silica, alumina, carbon, titanium oxide, and fly ash particles form nanoscale particles are commonly used in combination with matrices to form polymer particles. nanocomposites.

It is possible to improve the properties of composite materials based on natural/synthetic fibers by modifying the matrix using nano-SiO2 filling.

This work aims to experimentally explore the tensile and compressive strength of epoxy composite reinforced with kenaf fibers at various levels of nano-SiO2 load loading.

A compression molding machine was used to fabricate the composite plates.

Important Study Findings

The impact of dissolving nano-SiO2 loads on the mechanical properties of the kenaf fiber epoxy composite was examined by the research team.

In composite, the mass fraction of nano-filler was chosen at 0%, 1%, 2%, 3% and 4%.

The highest tensile strength of the composite was found with 2% nanofiller, which was significantly higher than that of the ordinary composite.

Similarly, nano-SiO2 2% mass fillers in composites improve resistance to compression and impact. Overall, the 2% fraction of nano-SiO2 the filler was found to be the optimal content in the epoxy composite based on kenaf fibers.

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Reference

Jotiram, GA, Palai, BK, et al. (2022). Study of the mechanical resistance of a polymer composite with natural fibers using SiO2 nano-filler. Materials Today: Reviews. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214785322002048?via%3Dihub

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