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Preparation and Characterization of a Novel Lignocellulosic Fiber from Calotropis gigantea Stem Fiber for Thermoplastic Composites

Haydar Zaman, Ruhul A. Khan


In the current article, Calotropis gigantea fiber mat (CGM)/thermoplastic polypropylene (PP) strengthened non-woven unidirectional composites were successfully manufactured by hot compression molding using the film piling method. Micromechanical and physicomechanical properties such as tensile, flexural, compressive, impact properties, thickness, swelling, and water absorption of CGM/PP composites were evaluated for the effects of CGF composition, mercerization of CGF as well as the inclusion of two types of coupling agents (vinyltriethoxysilane and benzoyl chloride). The results indicate that CGFs acted as strengthening fillers, enhancing the mechanical performance of composites. Based on the CGF content, 40 wt.% CGF was the best set of mechanical performance of reinforced composite. The effect of mercerization for CGF on the mechanical properties of CGM/PP composites was significantly higher than that of untreated composites. Following the mercerization of CGF, vinyltriethoxysilane and benzoylation were conducted to promote better interfacial shear strength (IFSS), adherence between CGF and PP, mechanical properties, and water desorption of the consequent composites. This trend was even more noticeable with the increase in CGF content. The best mechanical properties were obtained for vinyltriethoxysilane treated mercerized CGM/PP (VMCGM/PP) composites in this article at 40 wt.% CGF content as compared to other composites. CGF surface morphology and fracture surfaces of composites demonstrate improved interfacial fiber-matrix adherence to reinforced composites with VMCGM and benzoyl chloride treated mercerized CGM (BMCGM). The IFSS of the composites was also measured using a microbond test. Physical examination showed that CGM/PP composites absorbed the most water although the quality of water absorption decreased after treatment. 


Composites, Calotropis gigantea fiber, mechanical properties, polypropylene, surface modifications

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