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Mechanical Characterization of Gelatin-Flax Natural-Fiber Composites for Construction

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This article concerns the development and characterization of a protein-based alternative to traditional fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites used in construction. In this work, gelatin-based resins were prepared at various gelatin-to-water (g/w) ratios. The effects of g/w ratio and curing time on resin mechanical properties were investigated. Using gelatin resins with a 30% g/w ratio, (i) gelatin-flax and (ii) gelatin-fiberglass composites were fabricated, and their mechanical properties were characterized and compared to both (iii) epoxy-flax and (iv) epoxy-fiberglass composites. Fracture surface morphologies were investigated using scanning electron microscopy. Results indicate that gelatin-flax composites exhibit similar mechanical properties compared to the epoxy-fiberglass composites and that FRP composites with fully hydrophobic or fully hydrophilic constituents have better tensile strengths than composites with a combination of hydrophobic and hydrophilic constituents. Based on this preliminary mechanical and physical property investigation, gelatin-based resins exhibit a marked potential to be used as biobased materials in the construction industry, especially in temporary structural retrofit and rehabilitation applications.
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Keywords: COMPOSITES; GELATIN; MECHANICAL PROPERTIES; NATURAL FIBERS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-08-01

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  • The Journal of Renewable Materials (JRM) publishes high quality peer reviewed original research on macromolecules and additives obtained from renewable/biobased resources. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, JRM introduces cutting-edge research on biobased monomers, polymers, additives (both organic and inorganic), their blends and composites. It showcases both fundamental aspects and new applications for renewable materials. The fundamental theories and topics pertain to chemistry of biobased monomers, macromoners and polymers, their structure-property relationship, processing using sustainable methods, characterization (spectroscopic, morphological, thermal, mechanical, and rheological), bio and environmental degradation, and life cycle analysis. Demonstration of use of renewable materials and composites in applications including adhesives, bio and environmentally degradable structures, biomedicine, construction, electrical & electronics, mechanical, mendable and self-healing systems, optics, packaging, recycling, shape-memory, and stimulus responsive systems will be presented.
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