Title: Characterization and Sustainable Retting of Ragweed Fibers
Authors: Elizabeth N. Alvizo, Jitendra S. Tate, Serra E. Holthaus and Jennifer A. Irvin
Abstract: This work aims to characterize the North American native plant, Ambrosia trifida, commonly known as ragweed. The purpose of this research is to build a cost-effective manufacturing process that will produce quality microfibers to be used as a reinforcement in polymer matrix composite (PMC) applications. Chemical retting methods were employed and evaluated based on cellulose content extracted. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was used to expedite the retting process as previous experiments have shown it to produce cellulose with less impurities. Water retting was conducted in parallel with H2O2. Distilled, tap, and river water were compared based on impurities and time allotted. Sodium hydroxide chemical treatment was used to cleanse the fiber from non-cellulose material. The overall mechanical properties of natural fiber reinforced PMC are highly dependent on morphology, aspect ratio, hydrophilic tendency and dimensional stability of the fibers. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was used for morphology studies of the fiber. Mechanical properties were identified using MTS Exceed. Tensile strength, tensile modulus, and elongation at break mechanical properties were compared to commercially available natural fibers, such as jute, kenaf, hemp, and flax. After retting, the ragweed fibers were ground up and converted to cellulose acetate through esterification. The soluble cellulose acetate was characterized using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and titrated to determine the degree of esterification. Properties of ragweed based cellulose acetate were compared to commercially sourced cellulose acetate. The resultant cellulose acetate was a soluble polymer that could be electrospun to form a nanofiber.
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Conference: SAMPE 2020 | Virtual Series
Publication Date: 2020/06/01
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