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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 963549, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/963549
Research Article

Manufacturing and Structural Feasibility of Natural Fiber Reinforced Polymeric Structural Insulated Panels for Panelized Construction

Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL 35205, USA

Received 14 April 2011; Accepted 28 April 2011

Academic Editor: Susheel Kalia

Copyright © 2011 Nasim Uddin and Rahul R. Kalyankar. 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

Natural fibers are emerging in the fields of automobile and aerospace industries to replace the parts such as body panels, seats, and other parts subjected to higher bending strength. In the construction industries, they have the potential to replace the wood and oriented strand boards (OSB) laminates in the structural insulated panels (SIPs). They possess numerous advantages over traditional OSB SIPs such as being environmental friendly, recyclable, energy efficient, inherently flood resistant, and having higher strength and wind resistance. This paper mainly focuses on the manufacturing feasibility and structural characterization of natural fiber reinforced structural insulated panels (NSIPs) using natural fiber reinforced polymeric (NFRP) laminates as skin. To account for the use of natural fibers, the pretreatments are required on natural fibers prior to use in NFRP laminates, and, to address this issue properly, the natural fibers were given bleaching pretreatments. To this end, flexure test and low-velocity impact (LVI) tests were carried out on NSIPs in order to evaluate the response of NSIPs under sudden impact loading and uniform bending conditions typical of residential construction. The paper also includes a comparison of mechanical properties of NSIPs with OSB SIPs and G/PP SIPs. The results showed significant increase in the mechanical properties of resulting NSIP panels mainly a 53% increase in load-carrying capacity compared to OSB SIPs. The bending modulus of NSIPs is 190% higher than OSB SIPs and 70% weight reduction compared to OSB SIPs.