• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 12, No 3 (2021)

Preparation and Characterization of Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/High-Impact Polypropylene and Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/Vinyl Ester Biocomposites for Automotive Applications

Preparation and Characterization of Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/High-Impact Polypropylene and Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/Vinyl Ester Biocomposites for Automotive Applications

Title: Preparation and Characterization of Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/High-Impact Polypropylene and Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/Vinyl Ester Biocomposites for Automotive Applications
Apang Djafar Shieddieque, Mardiyati, Rochim Suratman, Bambang Widyanto

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Cite this article as:
Shieddieque, A.D., Mardiyati, Suratman, R., Widyanto, B., 2021. Preparation and Characterization of Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/High-Impact Polypropylene and Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/Vinyl Ester Biocomposites for Automotive Applications. International Journal of Technology. Volume 12(3), pp. 549-560

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Apang Djafar Shieddieque 1. Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Ganesha 10, Bandung, 40132, Indonesia 2. Faculty of Mechanical Engineeing, Sekolah Tinggi Teknologi Wastukancana, Jln
Mardiyati Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Ganesha 10, Bandung 40132, Indonesia
Rochim Suratman Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Ganesha 10, Bandung 40132, Indonesia
Bambang Widyanto Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Ganesha 10, Bandung 40132, Indonesia
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Abstract
Preparation and Characterization of Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/High-Impact Polypropylene and Sansevieria trifasciata Fiber/Vinyl Ester Biocomposites for Automotive Applications

The increasing demand for vehicles is resulting in environmental problems, such as a higher demand for fossil fuels and higher CO2 emissions. Lightweight materials, such as fiber-reinforced polymers, have been used in automotive components to reduce the weight, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions of vehicles. Natural fibers are often used as substitutes for glass fibers because they are abundant and require less energy to produce compared to glass fibers. The present research focused on the preparation and characterization of composites reinforced with Sansevieria trifasciata fiber (STF). High-impact polypropylene (HIPP) and vinyl ester (VE) were chosen and compared as matrix materials. The results showed that the mechanical properties of the produced biocomposites increased with increasing amounts of fiber, alkaline treatment, and unidirectional fiber orientation. A tensile strength of 59.77 MPa and a stiffness of 1.97 GPa were obtained for STF/HIPP composites with unidirectional alkali treatment and a 15% volume fraction of fiber. Moreover, a tensile strength of 121.1 MPa and a stiffness of 7.65 GPa were obtained for STF/VE composites with unidirectional alkali treatment and a 15% volume fraction of fiber. The STF/VE biocomposites were comparable to commercial glass fiber composites for automotive applications and even exhibited greater tensile strength properties.

Biocomposites; High-impact polypropylene; Sansevieria trifasciata; Vinyl ester

Introduction

        The increasing use of vehicles such as cars and motorcycles is causing environmental problems, such as high CO2 emissions and a fossil fuel shortage. Lightweight materials, such as fiber-reinforced polymers, have been used in automotive components to reduce the weight, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions of vehicles (Ramesh et al., 2017). Fiber-reinforced polymers exhibit excellent mechanical properties. However, the use of glass fibers for reinforcement can bring about other environmental problems, as these fibers are non-degradable and require high energy for processing. Natural fibers are often used as substitutes for glass fibers because they are abundant and require less energy to produce compared to glass fibers. Recently, the utilization of polymers reinforced with natural fibers or biocomposites has been growing, especially for interior and exterior parts in the automotive industry (Thakur and Thakur, 2014; Väisänen et al., 2016). Biocomposites offer many advantages, such as high strength, low weight, biodegradability, corrosion resistance, and low cost (Sreenivasan et al., 2011; Najafi, 2013). Natural fibers are also biodegradable because they attract microorganisms (Surip and Jaafar, 2018). Some products  for instance sports equipment, electronic housing or vehicle panel have been reported to use natural fibers, such as hemp, banana, kenaf, wood, and pulp fibers (Miléo et al., 2011; Faruk et al., 2012; Suharty et al., 2016; Ramesh et al., 2017; Sharath Shekar and Ramachandra, 2018). For example, Fatra et al. (2016) reported on the properties of alkaline-treated oil palm empty fruit bunch fiber-reinforced polypropylene composites. The results showed that the highest tensile strength (20.1 MPa) was achieved with an alkaline concentration of 5 wt.%, a soaking time of 36 h, and 3-cm fibers. In this case, the utilization of natural fibers is likely to decrease pollution and other environmental problems. Natural fiber materials have been proven to serve as effective alternatives to glass fiber reinforcement polymers.

According to the literature, natural fiber-reinforced composites (or biocomposites) exhibit mechanical properties comparable to those of glass fibers. More specifically, some studies have shown that the mechanical properties of flax, hemp, jute, and sisal fibers can compete with those of glass fibers (Gurunathan et al., 2015). Other research has shown that tensile and modulus properties tend to increase with increasing fiber volume fractions (Sankar et al., 2014). Although glass fiber is the primary reinforcement material used in composites for automotive applications, biocomposites have shown good potential for future development. The energy requirements for processing glass fiber exceed those of natural fiber. For example, 6,500 BTUs of energy are required to produce a single pound of kenaf fiber, whereas 23,000 BTUs are required to produce a single pound of glass fiber (Akampumuza et al., 2017). Over the last two decades, many works have aimed to apply biocomposites for automotive purposes. Furthermore, many researchers have reported on the advantages of natural fibers, such as their availability, non-toxicity, renewability, cost-e?ectiveness, and mechanical properties (e.g., toughness, strength, and stiffness; Rajak et al., 2019). Examples of biocomposite applications in the automotive industry include the rear panel shelves of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class models built in South Africa (made from sisal-reinforced composite), the inner door panels of the Opel Corsa (made from flax-reinforced polypropylene composites), and the interior door linings and panel of the BMW 7 Series (made using 24 kg of renewable materials). The use of natural fiber-based composites can reduce the weight of vehicles by 10–15% (Akampumuza et al., 2017).

In the present work, natural fiber biocomposites were derived from Sansevieria trifasciata, commonly called the “lidah mertua (in-law’s tongue)” plant. This plant is plentiful in Asia and Africa and is often used for decoration. Several studies have discussed the potential use of Sansevieria trifasciata for reinforcement in a polymer matrix. Sreenivasan et al. (2012) investigated the tensile, flexural, and impact properties of randomly oriented short Sansevieria cylindrical fiber/polyester (SCFP) composites. Mechanical property tests revealed that these composites had a tensile strength of approximately 76 MPa, a Young’s modulus of 1.1 GPa, and an elongation at break between 7% and 8.3%. The flexural strength of these composites was 84 MPa, the flextural modulus was 3 GPa, and the impact strength was 9.5 J/cm2. Venkatachalam et al. (2016) investigated the tensile properties of Sansevieria trifasciata fiber (STF)-reinforced polyester composites with five different fiber lengths (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mm). The results showed that tensile strength increased as the fiber length increased. However, the elongation at break was not significantly affected by the fiber length. The highest tensile strength (40 MPa) was found at a fiber length of 10 mm. Mardiyati et al. (2016) studied the effects of alkali treatment on the mechanical and thermal properties of STF. Chesson-Datta methods were used to determine the lignocellulose content of raw Sansevieria fibers and to investigate the effect of alkali treatment on the lignin content of these fibers. The obtained cellulose and lignin contents were 56% and 6%, respectively. Mechanical testing showed that the tensile strength increased from 647 MPa for raw fibers to 902 MPa for 5 wt.% NaOH-treated fibers. Zakaria et al. (2018) investigated the effects of fiber size (1 mm, 500 µm, 250 µm, and 125 µm) on the mechanical, morphological, and thermal properties of STF/natural rubber/high-density polyethylene (STF/NR/HDPE). The results showed that tensile strength and impact strength decreased and tensile modulus increased as filler loading increased. Furthermore, a fiber size of 125 µm produced the highest and most stable tensile strength and modulus values. However, previous results have not yet met the mechanical requirements for automotive applications. For comparison, the mechanical properties of commercial glass fiber composite include a tensile strength of 85 MPa, a modulus of elasticity or stiffness of 10.2 GPa in the 26 wt.% polyester resin matrix system, 28 wt.% glass fiber, and 46 wt.% minerals with an average density of 1,801 kg m-3 (Xia et al., 2016).

        The present research aimed to develop STF biocomposites that would meet automotive application requirements in high-impact polypropylene (HIPP) and vinyl ester (VE) matrices. The selection of these materials was based on their relatively strong mechanical properties, as it is necessary to develop biocomposites with strong mechanical properties. The effects of fiber orientation and fiber content on mechanical properties were investigated as well. Finally, the mechanical properties (e.g., tensile strength, stiffness, and impact toughness) of these composites were analyzed and compared with those of a commercial-grade fiber-reinforced composite.

Conclusion

        The mechanical properties of the produced biocomposites improved with increased fiber content, alkaline treatment, and unidirectional fiber orientation. A tensile strength of 59.77 MPa and a stiffness of 1.97 GPa were obtained for the STF/HIPP composite with a unidirectional orientation, alkali treatment, and a 15% volume fraction of fiber. Moreover, a tensile strength of 121.1 MPa and a stiffness of 7.65 GPa were obtained for the STF/VE composite with a unidirectional orientation, alkali treatment, and a 15% volume fraction of fiber. The tensile strength of the STF/VE biocomposite exceeded that of a commercial-grade glass fiber composite (85 MPa), and the modulus elasticity or stiffness of this biocomposite was near that of the glass fiber composite (10.2 GPa). This means that STF shows good potential for future use in automotive applications.

Acknowledgement

        The authors are thankful to PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical for providing the HIPP used in this research.

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