Materials of low weight and high strength are in extraordinary demand for a wide range of applications. This, coupled with modern society’s high concern for conservation of the environment, increases the necessity for gathering information on NFCs, so that they may be more widely implemented.
The discourse of this report is about the multiple facets of characterisation of natural fibre composites, with emphasis on flax reinforcement fibres in an epoxy matrix. Advances have been made in recent times to produce natural fibres, such as flax, sisal, hemp and jute, in a way that allows for high performing materials to be produced by incorporating environmentally friendly materials. In production, the layers of the natural fibre reinforcement matting are arranged in a structured fashion so as to achieve the desired properties of the component’s application.
There are a number of factors that make these materials an attractive alternative to synthetic fibre reinforced material. They possess comparable properties to synthetic fibre composites, such as stiffness, impact resistance, flexibility and modulus. In addition to this they are readily available, and are renewable and biodegradable. Other desirable properties include low cost, low density, vibrational damping. Associated disadvantages are mainly related to the inconsistency in mechanical properties of the composites between samples due to the varying properties of the fibres themselves.
There exists a positive non-linear relationship between the Young’s Modulus and the volume fraction of fibres. The relationship between strength and volume fraction of fibre is similarly positive and it is observed to be more linear. The manufacture process that will be used to create the test samples for this project is resin infusion.
Detailed in this report is a literature review which analyses and culminates what has been researched from prior art, a detailed description of the composite manufacture method used, results of the experiments done and a comparison of the experimentally obtained results with values established in literature.