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Title: ANALYSIS OF FLAX FIBER FABRIC BLENDS AND RECYCLED POLYETHYLENE COMPOSITES

Author
item Foulk, Jonn
item CHAO, WAYNE
item Akin, Danny
item DODD, ROY
item LAYTON, PATRICIA

Submitted to: Bio Environmental Polymer Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2004
Publication Date: 1/28/2005
Citation: Foulk, J.A., Chao, W.Y., Akin, D.E., Dodd, R.B., Layton, P.A. 2005. Analysis of flax fiber fabric blends and recycled polyethylene composites. Bio Environmental Polymer Society, 12th Annual BEPS Conference, December 5-10, 2004, Monterey, Mexico. p. 48-49.

Interpretive Summary: THE USDA COTTON QUALITY RESEARCH STATION IS COMPLEMENTED BY THE USDA FLAX FIBER PILOT PLANT WHICH BOTH EXIST FOR THE UTILIZATION AND TESTING OF NATURAL FIBERS. FIBERS FROM FLAX (LINUM USITATISSIMUM L.) ARE STIFF AND STRONG AND CAN BE PROCESSED INTO A YARN AND THEN MANUFACTURED INTO A FABRIC FOR FURTHER COMPOSITE FORMATION. THE OVERALL AIM OF THIS ARTICLE WAS TO EVALUATE HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE) COMPOSITES FORMED WITH VARIOUS LEVELS OF COTTON AND FLAX BLENDED FABRIC. PLASTIC WASTE IS CURRENTLY RECOVERED BECAUSE IT OFFERS APPROPRIATE MECHANICAL PROPERTIES, RECYCLABILITY AND THEREFORE GIVES AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVANTAGE, AND POTENTIAL MATERIAL FOR VARIOUS PRODUCTS INCLUDING COMPOSITES. FABRIC PROPERTIES COULD BE TAILORED TO OPTIMIZE USE OF COMPOSITES.

Technical Abstract: MANUFACTURING COMPOSITES WITH POLYMERS AND NATURAL FIBERS HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN PERFORMED USING CHOPPED FIBERS OR A NONWOVEN MAT FOR REINFORCEMENT. FIBERS FROM FLAX (LINUM USITATISSIMUM L.) ARE STIFF AND STRONG AND CAN BE PROCESSED INTO A YARN AND THEN MANUFACTURED INTO A FABRIC FOR FURTHER COMPOSITE FORMATION. LOWER FABRICATION COSTS, SPEED OF MANUFACTURING, AND EASE OF HANDLING MAKE WOVEN FABRICS ATTRACTIVE FOR STRUCTURAL APPLICATIONS. THIS FABRIC DIRECTLY IMPACTS THE COMPOSITE BECAUSE: 1. IT CONTAINS VARIOUS FIBER TYPES VIA FIBER OR YARN BLENDING, 2. FIBER LENGTH IS OFTEN LONGER DUE TO REQUIREMENTS IN YARN FORMATION, 3. IT CONTROLS THE FIBER ALIGNMENT VIA WEAVING, AND 4. IT CONTROLS FIBER VOLUME VIA YARN SIZE. FABRIC PROPERTIES COULD BE TAILORED TO OPTIMIZE USE OF COMPOSITES. COMPOSITES CREATED WITH FLAX-CONTAINING FABRICS AND RECYCLED HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE) HAVE BEEN EVALUATED FOR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES. PLASTIC WASTE (SUCH AS HDPE FROM MILK CONTAINERS) IS CURRENTLY RECOVERED BECAUSE IT OFFERS APPROPRIATE MECHANICAL PROPERTIES, RECYCLABILITY AND THEREFORE GIVES AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVANTAGE, AND POTENTIAL MATERIAL FOR VARIOUS PRODUCTS INCLUDING COMPOSITES. PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF FLAX FIBERS VARY CONSIDERABLY BUT STILL COMPETE WITH TECHNICAL FIBERS, SUCH AS GLASS AND CARBON FIBERS, AS REINFORCEMENTS FOR PLASTICS BECAUSE FLAX FIBER COMPOSITES ARE EASY TO RECYCLE AND CONTAIN HIGH STRENGTH AND STIFFNESS. SURFACE MODIFICATIONS OF THE NATURAL HYDROPHILIC FIBERS CAUSE CHANGES IN THE COMPOSITE STRENGTH DEPENDING UPON THE SURFACE TREATMENT TO IMPROVE INTERFACIAL ADHESION WITH THE HYDROPHOBIC POLYMER. THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY WAS TO EVALUATE HDPE COMPOSITES FORMED WITH VARIOUS LEVELS OF COTTON AND FLAX BLENDED FABRIC. SURFACE MODIFICATIONS AND COUPLING AGENTS COULD POTENTIALLY IMPACT BINDING AND THUS THE STRESS TRANSFER BETWEEN THE MATRIX AND FIBER.