Author(s): Wambua P, Ivens J, Verpoest I
In this work, natural fibres (sisal, kenaf, hemp, jute and coir) reinforced polypropylene composites were processed by compression moulding using a film stacking method. The mechanical properties of the different natural fibre composites were tested and compared. A further comparison was made with the corresponding properties of glass mat reinforced polypropylene composites from the open literature. Kenaf, hemp and sisal composites showed comparable tensile strength and modulus results but in impact properties hemp appears to out-perform kenaf. The tensile modulus, impact strength and the ultimate tensile stress of kenaf reinforced polypropylene composites were found to increase with increasing fibre weight fraction. Coir fibre composites displayed the lowest mechanical properties, but their impact strength was higher than that of jute and kenaf composites. In most cases the specific properties of the natural fibre composites were found to compare favourably with those of glass.