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PROJECT TOPIC- PROCESSING AND CHARACTERIZATION OF NATURAL FIBER REINFORCED POLYMER COMPOSITES

PROJECT TOPIC- PROCESSING AND CHARACTERIZATION OF NATURAL FIBER REINFORCED POLYMER COMPOSITES

ABSTRACT

Polymeric materials reinforced with synthetic fibres such as glass, carbon, and aramid provide advantages of high stiffness and strength to weight ratio as compared to conventional construction materials, i.e. wood, concrete, and steel. Despite these advantages, the widespread use of synthetic fibre-reinforced polymer composite has a tendency to decline because of their high-initial costs, their use in non-efficient structural
forms and most importantly their adverse environmental impact. On the other hand, the increase interest in using natural .bres as reinforcement in plastics to substitute conventional synthetic .bres in some structural applications has become one of the main concerns to study the potential of using natural fibres as reinforcement for polymers. In the light of this, researchers have focused their attention on natural fibre composite (i.e.
bio-composites) which are composed of natural or synthetic resins, reinforced with natural fibres. Accordingly, manufacturing of high-performance engineering materials from renewable resources has been pursued by researchers across the world owning to renewable raw materials are environmentally sound and do not cause health problem. The present work includes the processing, characterization of coconut fiber reinforced epoxy composites. . It further outlines a methodology based on Taguchi’s experimental design approach to make a parametric analysis of erosion wear behaviour. The systematic experimentation leads to determination of significant process parameters and material variables that predominantly influence the wear rate.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Overview of composites

Over the last thirty years composite materials, plastics and ceramics have been the dominant emerging materials. The volume and number of applications of composite materials have grown steadily, penetrating and conquering new markets relentlessly. Modern composite materials constitute a significant proportion of the engineered materials market ranging from everyday products to sophisticated niche applications. While composites have already proven their worth as weight-saving materials, the current challenge is to make them cost effective.

The efforts to produce economically attractive composite components have resulted in several innovative manufacturing techniques currently being used in the composites industry. It is obvious, especially for composites, that the improvement in manufacturing technology alone is not enough to overcome the cost hurdle. It is essential that there be an integrated effort in design, material, process, tooling, quality assurance, manufacturing, and even program management for composites to become competitive with metals.

The composites industry has begun to recognize that the commercial applications of composites promise to offer much larger business opportunities than the aerospace sector due to the sheer size of transportation industry. Thus the shift of composite applications from aircraft to other commercial uses has become prominent in recent years. Increasingly enabled by the introduction of newer polymer resin matrix materials and high performance reinforcement fibers of glass, carbon and aramid, the penetration of these advanced materials has witnessed a steady expansion in uses and volume.

The increased volume has resulted in an expected reduction in costs. High performance FRP can now be found in such diverse applications as composite armoring designed to resist explosive impacts, fuel cylinders for natural gas vehicles, windmill blades, industrial drive shafts, support beams of highway bridges and even paper making rollers. For certain applications, the use of composites rather than metals has in fact resulted in savings of both cost and weight. Some examples are cascades for engines, curved fairing and fillets, replacements for welded metallic parts, cylinders, tubes, ducts, blade containment bands etc.

Further, the need of composite for lighter construction materials and more seismic resistant structures has placed high emphasis on the use of new and advanced materials that not only decreases dead weight but also absorbs the shock & vibration through tailored microstructures. Composites are now extensively being used for rehabilitation/ strengthening of pre-existing structures that have to be retrofitted to make them seismic resistant, or to repair damage caused by seismic activity. Unlike conventional materials (e.g., steel), the properties of the composite material can be designed considering the structural aspects.

The design of a structural component using composites involves both material and structural design. Composite properties (e.g. stiffness, thermal expansion etc.) can be varied continuously over a broad range of values under the control of the designer. Careful selection of reinforcement type enables finished product characteristics to be tailored to almost any specific engineering requirement. Whilst the use of composites will be a clear choice in many instances, material selection in others will depend on factors such as working lifetime requirements, number of items to be produced (run length), complexity of product shape, possible savings in assembly costs and on the experience & skills the designer in tapping the optimum potential of composites. In some instances, best results may be achieved through the use of composites in conjunction with traditional materials.

PROJECT TOPIC- PROCESSING AND CHARACTERIZATION OF NATURAL FIBER REINFORCED POLYMER COMPOSITES

1.2. Definition of composite

The most widely used meaning is the following one, which has been stated by Jartiz “Composites are multifunctional material systems that provide characteristics not obtainable from any discrete material. They are cohesive structures made by physically combining two or more compatible materials, different in composition and characteristics and sometimes in form”. The weakness of this definition resided in the fact that it allows one to classify among the composites any mixture of materials without indicating either its specificity or the laws which should given it which distinguishes it from other very banal, meaningless mixtures. 

Kelly very clearly stresses that the composites should not be regarded simple as a combination of two materials. In the broader significance; the combination has its own distinctive properties. In terms of strength to resistance to heat or some other desirable quality, it is better than either of the components alone or radically different from either of them.
Beghezan defines as “The composites are compound materials which differ from alloys by the fact that the individual components retain their
characteristics but are so incorporated into the composite as to take advantage only of their attributes and not of their short comings”, in order to obtain improved materials.
Van Suchetclan explains composite materials as heterogeneous materials consisting of two or more solid phases, which are in intimate contact with each other on a microscopic scale. They can be also considered as homogeneous materials on a microscopic scale in the sense that any portion of it will have the same physical property.

1.3. Merits of Composites

Advantages of composites over their conventional counterparts are the ability to meet diverse design requirements with significant weight savings as well as strength-to-weight ratio. Some advantages of composite materials over conventional ones are as follows:

  • Tensile strength of composites is four to six times greater than that of steel or aluminium (depending on the reinforcements).
  • Improved torsional stiffness and impact properties. Higher fatigue endurance limit (up to 60% of ultimate tensile strength).
  • 30% – 40% lighter for example any particular aluminium structures designed to the same functional requirements.
  • Lower embedded energy compared to other structural metallic maerials like steel, aluminium etc.
  • Composites are less noisy while in operation and provide lower vibration transmission than metals.
  • Composites are more versatile than metals and can be tailored to meet performance needs and complex design requirements.
  • Long life offer excellent fatigue, impact, environmental resistance and reduce maintenance.
  • Composites enjoy reduced life cycle cost compared to metals.
  • Composites exhibit excellent corrosion resistance and fire retardancy.
  • Improved appearance with smooth surfaces and readily incorporable integral decorative melamine are other characteristics of composites.
  • Composite parts can eliminate joints / fasteners, providing part simplification and integrated design compared to conventional metallic parts.

Broadly, composite materials can be classified into three groups on the basis of matrix material. They are:
a) Metal Matrix Composites (MMC)
b) Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC)
c) Polymer Matrix Composites (PM

PROJECT TOPIC- PROCESSING AND CHARACTERIZATION OF NATURAL FIBER REINFORCED POLYMER COMPOSITES

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