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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 736474, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/736474
Research Article

Kenaf Bast Fibers—Part II: Inorganic Nanoparticle Impregnation for Polymer Composites

1Forest Products Department (FPD), Mississippi State University (MSU), Box 9820, Starkville, MS 39762-9601, USA
2Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS), Mississippi State University, Box 5405, Starkville, MS 39762-5405, USA
3International Center for Bamboo and Rattan, No. 8 Futong Dongdajie, Wangjing Area, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100102, China

Received 1 April 2011; Revised 18 June 2011; Accepted 5 July 2011

Academic Editor: Bibin Mathew Cherian

Copyright © 2011 Jinshu Shi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate an inorganic nanoparticle impregnation (INI) technique to improve the compatibility between kenaf bast fibers and polyolefin matrices. The Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was used to examine the surface morphology of the INI-treated fibers showing that the CaCO3 nanoparticle crystals grew onto the fiber surface. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) was used to verify the CaCO3 nanoparticle deposits on the fiber surface. The tension tests of the individual fiber were conducted, and the results showed that the tensile strength of the fibers increased significantly (more than 20%) after the INI treatments. Polymer composites were fabricated using the INI-treated fiber as reinforcement and polypropylene (PP) as the matrix. The results showed that the INI treatments improved the compatibility between kenaf fibers and PP matrix. The tensile modulus and tensile strength of the composites reinforced with INI-treated fibers increased by 25.9% and 10.4%, respectively, compared to those reinforced with untreated kenaf fibers.