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Browsing Research Outputs (Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering) by Subject "A. Natural materials"
The objective of this study is to compare the mechanical and water absorption properties of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) fibre reinforced laminates made of three different resin systems. The use of different resin systems is considered so that potentially complex and expensive fibre treatments are avoided. The resin systems used include a polyester, a vinyl ester and an epoxy. Laminates of 15%, 22.5% and 30% fibre volume fraction were manufactured by resin transfer moulding. The laminates were tested for strength and modulus under tensile and flexural loading. Additionally, tests were carried out on laminates to determine the impact energy, impact strength and water absorption. The results revealed that properties were affected in markedly different ways by the resin system and the fibre volume fraction. Polyester laminates showed good modulus and impact properties, epoxy laminates displayed good strength values and vinyl ester laminates exhibited good water absorption characteristics. Scanning electron microscope studies show that epoxy laminates fail by fibre fracture, polyester laminates by fibre pull-out and vinyl ester laminates by a combination of the two. A comparison between kenaf and glass laminates revealed that the specific tensile and flexural moduli of both laminates are comparable at the volume fraction of 15%. However, glass laminates have much better specific properties than the kenaf laminates at high fibre volume fractions for all three resins used.