Effect of Hemp Fiber on PET/Hemp Composites
The properties of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) reinforced with 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20% (w/w) alkaline-treated hemp fibers were investigated following a series of processing stages. The fiber concentration significantly impacts the compounding process, yielding thermostable composites below 300°C. Their elastic moduli varied logarithmically with fiber concentration, and were increased by up to 20% with respect to the nonreinforced formulation. Such reinforcement was, however, followed by a drastic decrease in the elongation at break, from more than 20 mm for the unreinforced PET to as low as 2.5 mm. Other properties showed closer observations to the variations of the elastic moduli. An appreciably good fiber-matrix interface was also observed; however the actual processing method could not take advantage of the fiber's length. This work has a major impact in the development of composite biomaterials, as it extends their application range to the subexploited area of high-melting thermoplastic matrices reinforced with natural fibers.
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