Fabrication and Characterization of Unidirectional Silk Fibre Composites
Natural fibres offer a number of benefits as reinforcement for synthetic polymers since they have high specific strength and stiffness, high impact strength, biodegradability etc. The aim of this study is to fabricate and determine the performance of unidirectional silk fibre reinforced polymer composites. In the present initial study, alkali treated silk fibres were incorporated as reinforcing agent, while a mixture of 20% maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAPP) and commercial grade polypropylene (PP) was used as matrix element. The unidirectional composites were fabricated by using hot compression machine under specific pressure, temperature and varying fibre loading. Tensile, flexural, impact and hardness tests were carried out by varying silk fibre volume fraction. Composites containing 45% fibre volume fraction had higher tensile and flexural strength, Young’s modulus and flexural modulus compared to other fabricated composites including those with untreated silk fibres. SEM micrographs were taken to examine composite fracture surface and interfacial adhesion between silk fibre and the matrix. These micrographs suggested less fibre pull out and better interfacial bonding for 40% fibre reinforced composites.
S.M. Sapuan, F. Mustapha, D.L. Majid, Z. Leman, A.H.M. Ariff, M.K.A. Ariffin, M.Y.M. Zuhri, M.R. Ishak and J. Sahari
M. Ahmed et al., "Fabrication and Characterization of Unidirectional Silk Fibre Composites", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 471-472, pp. 20-25, 2011