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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 964193, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/964193
Research Article

A Study of Nanoclay Reinforcement of Biocomposites Made by Liquid Composite Molding

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Chair on Composites of High Performance (CCHP), Research Centre on Plastics and Composites (CREPEC), Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7
2Centre for Advanced Composite Materials, Department of Engineering, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Received 1 March 2011; Accepted 3 May 2011

Academic Editor: Susheel Kalia

Copyright © 2011 Farida Bensadoun 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

Liquid composite molding (LCM) processes are widely used to manufacture composite parts for the automotive industry. An appropriate selection of the materials and proper optimization of the manufacturing parameters are keys to produce parts with improved mechanical properties. This paper reports on a study of biobased composites reinforced with nanoclay particles. A soy-based unsaturated polyester resin was used as synthetic matrix, and glass and flax fiber fabrics were used as reinforcement. This paper aims to improve mechanical and flammability properties of reinforced composites by introducing nanoclay particles in the unsaturated polyester resin. Four different mixing techniques were investigated to improve the dispersion of nanoclay particles in the bioresin in order to obtain intercalated or exfoliated structures. An experimental study was carried out to define the adequate parameter combinations between vacuum pressure, filling time, and resin viscosity. Two manufacturing methods were investigated and compared: RTM and SCRIMP. Mechanical properties, such as flexural modulus and ultimate strength, were evaluated and compared for conventional glass fiber composites (GFC) and flax fiber biocomposites (GFBiores-C). Finally, smoke density analysis was performed to demonstrate the effects and advantages of using an environment-friendly resin combined with nanoclay particles.