Novel biocomposites sheet molding compounds for low cost housing panel applications

Geeta Mehta

Associate Professor

mehtagee@umich.edu

3044 NCRC, Building 28

T: (734) 763-3957

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G Mehta, AK Mohanty, K Thayer, M Misra, and LT Drzal (2005)

JOURNAL OF POLYMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT, 13(2):169-175.

Biocomposites were made by a novel high volume processing techniquenamed `biocomposite sheet molding compound panel' (BCSMCP)manufacturing process. This process design was inspired by thecommercial glass fiber-polyester resin composite fabrication methodcalled sheet molding compounding (SMC). This process yields continuousproduction of biocomposites on a large scale, and thus can be easilyadopted in industries. A unique. ber dispersion method, which enableduniform distribution of natural. bers, was used in this process.Consistency of the process was tested by evaluating the repeatability ofthe resultant materials' mechanical properties. The low costbiocomposites produced as a result of the processing will be used forvarious panel applications such as housing and transportation. Themolded samples were tested for various mechanical and thermalproperties, in accordance with ASTM procedures. The biocomposites weremade with various natural. bers including, big blue stem grass, jute,and industrial hemp. By combining different natural. bers in varyingmass fractions, hybrid biocomposites were made using this process.Grass. ber reinforced polyester biocomposites processed by the SMC lineshowed very promising results.

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