Moisture behaviour and biological durability of high performance flax fibre reinforced composites

IRG/WP 17-40803

N Defoirdt, J Van den Bulcke, F Bensadoun, J Ivens, I Verpoest, J Van Acker

For natural fibre composites in structural and load bearing applications long reinforcing fibres are required. Therefore, much research is performed on flax fibre reinforced composites to optimize them for high performance use. In most cases such research focuses on the mechanical properties, yet the assessment of moisture behaviour, dimensional stability and biological durability is an important aspect as well concerning in-service performance. In this study we assessed the properties of flax composites made with maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAPP) or epoxy and reinforced with mat, unidirectional, cross-ply unidirectional, quasi unidirectional, plain weave or twill weave reinforcements. Testing water immersion and fungal resistance with Coniophora puteana and Trametes versicolor showed that epoxy composites performed better than MAPP composites. Furthermore less water absorption and lower biological degradation was observed when reinforcement was more structured. The type of resin, manufacturing process and reinforcement type influences the impregnation quality and porosity of the composites. It is possible that the manufacturing process changes the fibre chemistry in a way that fungi such as C. puteana encounters difficulties degrading them. Further research is needed to explain such behaviour.

Keywords: natural fibre composite, flax, fibre reinforcement types, moisture behaviour, dimensional stability, biological durability

Conference: 17-06-04/08 Ghent, Belgium

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