Monday, April 10, 2017

Manufacturing: Natural fibers for sustainable plastics

By Sophia Lloyd
Posted on March 9, 2015

Polymer composite materials are used in many different contexts, including the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries. Fiber-reinforced polymers offer improved mechanical properties over their non-reinforced counterparts, with increased hardness, better tensile, flexural, and impact strengths, and higher tensile modulus. The fibers within the polymer hold the plastic together, resisting deformation and breaking under stresses. The extent to which this is achieved depends on several factors, including the dimension (length and width) of the fibers, the density of the fibers within the polymer, and the strength of adhesion between the fiber and polymer, as well as defects and variation within the fibers themselves.

Owing to the vast quantities of fiber-reinforced polymers used in large-scale industrial applications, there are, naturally, concerns arising regarding their environmental impact.

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