Submitted to: Composite Interfaces
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/4/2007
Publication Date: 1/25/2008
Citation: Liu, Z., Erhan, S.Z., Akin, D.E., Barton Ii, F.E., Onwulata, C.I., Mckeon, T.A. 2008. Modified flax fibers reinforced soy-based composites: mechanical properties and water absorption behavior. Composite Interfaces. 15:207-220.
Interpretive Summary: Because of environmental concerns, the commercial utilization of biological polymers has become an active research area during past decades. Biopolymers have potential advantages compared with synthetic petroleum polymers owing to their biodegradable properties and, in many cases, lower cost. Using natural plant fibers as reinforcements for plastics also interests many researchers. The motivation includes cost, performance-enhancement, weight-reduction, and environment. Recently, flax has been considered as cost-effective alternative to glass in composites, since new technology and separation techniques have lowered the costs to produce fibers that are more uniform in color, strength, length, and fineness and thus better suited to composites. On the other hand, poor water resistance property of flax fiber is a major problem for use as reinforcement in composites. In order to improve water resistance properties of natural fibers, physical and chemical surface treatment methods have to be used to change the surface structure of the fibers. In this study, we reported the preparation of soybased composites, reinforced with protein coated and lipid acylated flax fibers. Water resistance properties of the composites are greatly improved. Their mechanical properties are also studied and reported.
Technical Abstract: Flax fibers are often used in reinforced composites which have exhibited numerous advantages such as high mechanical properties, low density and biodegradability. On the other hand, the hydrophilic nature of flax fiber is a major problem. In this study, we prepare the soybean oil based composites reinforced with protein coated and lipid acylated flax fibers and compare their water uptake properties. Results showed that water resistance properties of the composites are improved where treated flax fibers are used. The composite with lipid acylation of the flax fiber exhibited to enhance tensile strength and water resistance properties. Influences of fiber length, fiber loading and pressure on mechanical properties are also reported.