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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 513590, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/513590
Research Article

Ground Hemp Fibers as Filler/Reinforcement for Thermoplastic Biocomposites

1Centre of Excellence in Engineered Fibre Composite, Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia
2Faculty of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, QLD 4558, Australia
3University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia

Received 9 January 2015; Accepted 5 May 2015

Academic Editor: Pavel Lejcek

Copyright © 2015 Amir Etaati 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

Mechanical properties (tensile, flexural, and impact) of ground hemp fibre polypropylene composites were investigated. Ground alkali-treated hemp fibre and noil hemp fibres with various initial fibre lengths were utilized to reinforce polypropylene matrix. Firstly, the microstructural and tensile characterizations of the two types of fibres were characterized using scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared analysis (FTIR), and Dynamic Mechanical Analyser (DMA). Then, the fibres were ground into different lengths of 0.2, 0.5, 1, and 2 mm; composites containing 40 wt% short hemp fibre and 5 wt% maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAPP) were fabricated by means of a twin screw extruder and an injection moulding machine. Finally, influence of hemp fibre type and initial hemp fibre length on tensile property of the composites were investigated. The results revealed that addition of either noil hemp fibre or normal treated hemp fibre into the pure polypropylene matrix increased the tensile strength almost twice and stiffness of the composites more than three times. Although noil hemp fibre composite indicated slightly lower mechanical properties than the normal alkali-treated fibre composites, the difference was not significant. The analysis of the results provided the optimum initial fibre length (powder) of 0.2 mm hemp polypropylene composite. The results can be extended to different types of natural fibres.