Title: Natural Fibers as a load-bearing constituent in composite structural components
Authors: Santino Wist, Deepak Kumar
Abstract: To tackle climate change, natural fiber composites are one of the emerging technologies to reduce CO2 and improve sustainability by replacing conventional carbon and glass composites. Flax, hemp, and other natural fibers are part of the solution toward sustainable development. The variety of fibers provides new properties and application potential. Natural fiber reinforced polymers are utilized in manufacturing several automotive, marine, and aerospace low-level applications with no or limited load. Natural fibers are said to bear the potential to replace glass fiber composites as they are lightweight and have equivalent load-bearing mechanical properties. However, the potential of natural fibers for structural components is yet to be investigated thoroughly. Therefore, the load-bearing capacity and potential of flax fibers must be investigated for structural applications. Furthermore, the importance of combining the sustainable fiber with bio-based resin systems must be investigated to quantify the material properties. The goal of the research is to analyze the suitability and mechanical properties of natural fibers as a load-bearing component in structural composites. The preliminary goal is to find the natural fiber with the best mechanical properties on the market and investigate its processibility into highly directional fabrics like TFP (tailored fiber placement) and radial braiding. The second step is to analyze the natural fibers properties in a thermoset composite and compare it to a glass fiber benchmark. Market and technology research are carried out to select the suitable natural fiber roving and glass fiber benchmark. Tensile, bending and shear test specimen as per ASTM standards are prepared using TFP and vacuum infusion technologies. The main mechanical properties necessary for FEM-simulation are found and compared to the glass fiber benchmark. Also the elastic hysteresis behavior at low elongation for flax fibers is shown and discussed. Furthermore, braiding trials are carried out to study the processibility. Scientific analysis, microscopic and scanning electron microscopic imagery is used to analyze the samples and it's failure under load. Finally, as a result the sustainability of natural fibers in thermoset matrices is evaluated considering the price to performance ratio and the overall CO2 balance.
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Conference: CAMX 2023
Publication Date: 2023/10/30
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