Biobased resin as a toughening agent for biocomposites

Geeta Mehta

Associate Professor

mehtagee@umich.edu

3044 NCRC, Building 28

T: (734) 763-3957

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G Mehta, AK Mohanty, M Misra, and LT Drzal (2004)

GREEN CHEMISTRY, 6(5):254-258.

Biocomposites can be designed and engineered from plant bio-fibres and ablend of unsaturated polyester resin and derivatized vegetable oil toreplace existing glass fibre-polyester composites for use in housingapplications. Natural fibre composites (biocomposites) would provideenvironmental gains, reduced energy consumption, lighter weight,insulation and sound absorption properties, thus providing manybeneficial additions to the American Advanced Housing program.Biocomposites were made using a non-woven fibre mat (90\\% Hemp fibrewith 10\\% thermoplastic polyester binder) as reinforcement, andunsaturated polyester (UPE) resin as well as blends of UPE andfunctionalized vegetable oils as the polymer matrix. All composites weremade with 30\\% volume fraction of fibre, which was optimized earlier.The structure-property relationships of this system as well as thethermo-mechanical properties of these composites were measured. Thenotched Izod impact strength of biocomposites from biobased resin blendsof UPE and functionalized vegetable oil and industrial hemp fibre matare enhanced by 90\\% as compared to that of the pure UPE-industrial hempfibre mat composites. The initial tests also show an improvement in thetensile properties of the composite as a result of the incorporation ofthe derivatized vegetable oil. The morphological changes of the matrixand composites have been analyzed using electron microscopy.

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