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Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (2017) 8307–8312 www.materialstoday.com/proceedings

ICAAMM-2016

Investigation of Water Absorption and Fire Resistance of Untreated


Banana Fibre Reinforced Polyester Composites
Muktha Ka, Keerthi Gowda B Sb*
a
Structural Engineering, Center for Post Graduates Studies, VTU, Mysuru 570023,Karnataka,India.
b
Assistant Professor, Structural Engineering, Center for Post Graduates Studies, VTU, Mysuru 570029 Karnataka, India.

Abstract

This study is focused on the evaluation of water absorption and fire resistance properties of untreated banana fibre reinforced
polyester composites. Randomly oriented untreated banana fibres of length 10±1 mm were used to cast 3 mm and 5 mm thick
specimens of fibre volume fraction 5 %, 10 %, 15 %, 17.5 % and 20 % respectively. Both water absorption and fire resistance
tests were conducted in accordance with the ASTM D 570-98 and ASTM D 635-03 respectively. It has been observed that both
water absorption and fire resistance capacity of 3 mm thick specimen is less than that of the 5 mm thick specimen. It concludes
that as thickness of untreated banana fibre reinforced polyester composite specimen increases, both fire resistance and water
absorption capability of composite are also increases.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Selection and Peer-review under responsibility of the Committee Members of International Conference on Advancements in
Aeromechanical Materials for Manufacturing (ICAAMM-2016).

Keywords:banana fibre; water absorption; fire resistance; composites; untreated; polyester.

1. Introduction

Always there is a trend towards innovative material Research. Composite materials are one of the most significant
inventions of the material sciences. At present, the trend is slowly changing towards using natural fibres as
reinforcements as they are economical in cost, eco-friendly and biodegradable. Among all the natural fibre
reinforcing materials banana appears to be a promising material because it is relatively inexpensive and abundantly

* Muktha KTel.: +91-9964024281; fax: 08212570012.


E-mail address:keerthiresearch@yahoo.com

2214-7853© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Selection and Peer-review under responsibility ofthe Committee Members of International Conference on Advancements in Aeromechanical
Materials for Manufacturing (ICAAMM-2016).
8308 Muktha and Gowda. / Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (2017) 8307–8312

available. Polyester is hydrophobic in nature and quick drying. Thermoset matrix systems have been dominating the
composite industry because of their reactive nature. These matrices allow ready impregnation of fibres, their
malleability permits manufacture of complex forms and they provide a means of achieving high strength, high
stiffness cross-linked networks in a cured part. Cobalt napthanate and Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide are used as
hardener and catalyst while casting the polyester resin matrix composites.

Earlier researchers have reported extensive studies on composites by using natural fibres as reinforcement among
them Keerthi Gowda et.al [1] investigated and compared the tensile strength of sisal and coir fibre reinforced
polyester composite and they concluded that the tensile strength of coir fibre reinforced polyester composite is high
compared to tensile strength of sisal fibre reinforced composite. Easwara Prasad et.al [2] have reported that coir
composite of 5 mm thickness with 20% fibre volume fraction recorded the highest flexural strength. With their
results they have concluded that with high volume of fibres the availability of matrix for adhesion gets reduced
leading to the reduction of flexural strength of specimen. Keerthi Gowda et.al [3] in their study they have reported
that fibre length is having significant effect on the properties of coir fibre reinforced epoxy composites. Keerthi
Gowda et.al [4] studied on probable range of tensile strength of a coir fibre reinforced polymer matrix composite in
which composite of 20% fibre volume fraction have shown highest tensile strength in all cases of composite
specimen of 2 mm, 4 mm and 6 mm thickness. Ramadevi et.al [5] reported the comparative study of moisture
absorption of untreated and alkali-treated abaca fibre in sea water, pond water, river water and bore well water
which has revealed that moisture absorption capability of abaca fibre was reduced by alkali treatment. Further
Narayan et.al [6] reported that the moisture absorption becomes stabilize around 50 hours for banana epoxy
composite. Also banana epoxy fibre composite has lowest percentage of moisture absorption upon various type of
composite tested. Ghosh et.al [7] reported that water uptake of ultrasonic treated banana fibre reinforced-vinyl ester
composites increased rapidly during the initial stages which has followed Fickian diffusion but it later followed non-
fickian diffusion process. Rai et.al [8] reported that best physico-mechanical properties and reduction in water was
achieved on replacing 40% of polyester resin by coagulum for alkali treated polyester banana fibre composite.
Raghavendra et.al [9] reported that short banana fibre reinforced natural rubber composites made from 15mm length
have showed maximum tensile strength and good tear strength.

Additionally Joseph et.al [10] reported that treated banana fibre reinforced phenol formaldehyde composites were
analyzed and compared with that of untreated fibre composite. The tensile and flexural properties were found to be
increased by all the modifications except latex coating. Pothan et.al [11] reported that chemical modifications have
improved the mechanical properties of banana fibre reinforced polyester composite and upon various chemical
treatments simple alkali treatment with 1% NaOH proved to be more effective. Santhosh et.al [12] reported that
various other natural reinforcing material can be mixed with banana fibre to form better hybrid composite to get
better mechanical properties and as well as cost effective. Sumaila et.al [13] concluded that percent moisture
absorption, void content and the compressive strength increased with increase in fibre length of random oriented,
nonwoven short banana fibre/epoxy composite. Kumar et.al [14] their result indicated the improvement in
mechanical properties of banana fibres reinforced thermoplastics composites is significant when treated with alkali
which attributed to the better interfacial strength of the composites.
Muktha and Gowda / Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (2017) 8307–8312 8309

2. Materials and Methods

2.1 Materials

The banana fibres were extracted by the process called Decorticating. Thinned and unwanted short fibres are
removed, and then these fibres were chopped into 10 mm length. Cobalt Naphthanate and Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Peroxide are used as hardener and catalyst respectively along with polyester resin to prepare the matrix solution.
Polyester resin, catalyst and hardener were mixed in the proportion of 100:2:2.

2.2 Specimen Casting

The banana fibre reinforced polyester composites were fabricated using hot compression moulding technique by
varying fibre volume fraction as 5%, 10%, 15%, 17.5% and 20%. Banana fibres were evenly distributed into the
mould. After placing the fibres distributed mould into hot compression moulding machine, the prepared matrix
solution is uniformly poured into the mould. The temperature of 85°C is maintained for 20 minutes. The mould was
compressed manually. Then the prepared composite were cut for testing conform to the dimension of the specimen
as per respective ASTM standards.

2. Test Methods and Discussions

Flammability test was carried out in accordance to ASTM D 635-03. Specimens were 125 ± 5 mm long and 13 ±
0.5 mm wide. Each specimen was marked with two lines perpendicular to the longitudinal axis at 25 ± 1 and 100 ± 1
mm from the end that is to be ignited. The free end was exposed to a specified gas flame for 30 ± 1 s. As soon as the
test flame reaches the 25 mm reference mark the timing device is started. The time taken by the flame to reach 100
mm reference mark is recorded as elapsed time (t) in seconds and record the burned length (L) as 75 mm. The linear
burning rate (V) is computed by using the below relation (refer eq1).

V=60L/t (1)

All the obtained results are tabulated in Table 1. The Linear burning rate (Fig 1) shows that both 3 mm and 5 mm
thick specimen of 20% fibre volume fraction exhibits lowest linear burning rate value of 17.69 mm/min and 19.58
mm/min respectively.

Table 1: Flammability test of Banana Polyester Composite


Linear burning rate, (mm/min)
Fibre volume fraction, (%) 3 mm 5 mm

5 27.88 28.67
10 25.57 26.34
15 21.79 24.00

17.5 19.59 21.79


20 17.69 19.58
8310 Muktha and Gowda. / Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (2017) 8307–8312

Fig 1: Linear burning rate


Water absorption test was carried out in accordance to ASTM D 570-98. Specimens were 76.2 mm long and 25.4
mm wide; the cut edge was made smooth. The weight of the specimen was taken and is recorded as initial weight.
The specimen was placed in a container of distilled water, which rested on its edge and entirely immersed. At the
end of 24 h, the specimen was removed from water one at a time. The water on the surface was wiped off with a dry
cloth and weighed immediately and recorded as final weight. The percentage increase in weight was computed by
using the relation as shown below (refer eq 2).

Water absorption, % = ((final weight-initial weight)/initial weight) X100 (2)

All the results are tabulated in Table 2. The Moisture absorption (Fig 2) shows that both 3 mm and 5 mm thick
specimen of 20% fibre volume fraction exhibits highest water absorption of 4.38% and 4.74% respectively.
Muktha and Gowda / Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (2017) 8307–8312 8311

Table 2: Water absorption of Banana Polyester Composite


Water absorption, (%)
Fibre volume fraction, (%)
3 mm 5 mm

5 1.50 1.76
10 2.63 2.93

15 3.06 3.52

17.5 3.86 4.27

20 4.38 4.74

Fig 2: Moisture absorption


8312 Muktha and Gowda. / Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (2017) 8307–8312

3. Conclusion

From the experimental results shown in Table 1 it has been observed that the increasing fibre volume fraction
leads to decrease in linear burning rate. Reduction in linear burning rate increases the thermal stability of the
composites [15]. Also from the experimental results shown in Table 2 it can be conclude that the percentage of
water absorption of banana fibre reinforced polyester composite specimen is found to increase with increase in fibre
volume fraction because of high cellulose content of the natural fibre [16]. Also it is observed that absorption of
water increases with increase in thickness of the specimen. The increasing water absorption is due to the hydrophilic
nature of banana fibres. The amount of water uptake by polyester resin is almost negligible as it is hydrophobic in
nature. Hence by the observation of above results it is cleared that Banana fibre reinforced polyester composite can
be effectively utilize as alternative building material, where there is less contact with fire and water.

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to thank the Vision Group of Science and Technology (VGST) for provided financial
assistance through SMYSR scheme/2014-15 batch for carrying out the project in our department.

References

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