Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Materials Science
Maiya Minor - Talladega College
Co-Author(s): Vertonica Powell-Rose, Mahesh Hosur, and Skaik Jeelani, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
The demand for natural fibers in industrial products has become common due to the technical and economic benefits of natural fibers. Chemically modified natural fibers have been used as reinforcement for polymeric composites. Natural fibers have great advantages, including low density, a high specific strength and modulus, non-toxic and renewability. Research has been done to investigate green composites in order to develop biodegradable and sustainable natural materials. In this study, flax fibers were chemically modified through alkali and silane treatments. The effects of 3% potassium hydroxide (KOH) and 13 % silane treatments, the fibers were soaked in KOH for four hours and the 1-3% silane for one hour. Crystallinity, thermal and tensile properties of flax fibers were investigated. Chemical composition of flax fibers was found to be modified after treatments. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) was used to determine the effect of the chemical treatment on the thermal components of the flax fiber. X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) was used to determine the crystalline compounds, including identification and quantification of crystalline phases. Zwick/Roell materials testing system was used to analyze the tensile strength of fiber bundles.
In conclusion, Differential Scanning Calorimetry analysis showed a decrease in the amount of moisture evaporation, hemicellulose, pectin and lignin; in the case of fibers subjected to alkali and silane treatment. X-ray diffraction showed an increase in the amount of crystallinity in both alkali and alkali/ silane treated fibers. The untreated fibers showed a crystallinity of 73.10 % whereas, alkali/1% silane treated fibers showed a crystallinity of 75.28%. Treated fibers exhibited higher tensile strengths of 43.57 and 48.30 compared to 30.12 of those that were untreated. Analysis showed the modulus of elasticity of untreated fibers to be 29.78 whereas, with 3% KOH is 32.85 however, the addition of 1% silane showed a 38.58 modulus of elasticity. Furthermore, future work will be done to create a polymeric composite that is completely biodegradable.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation
Faculty Advisor: Mahesh Hosur, firstname.lastname@example.org