Profiling application potential for alkali treated sisal fiber-polypropylene composite in Ashby material-property plots
The effect of alkali treatment on sisal fiber from the plant agave sisalana in appropriation for composite material application is presented. Effectiveness of the fiber’s reinforcement potential within polypropylene (PP) matrix is evaluated through morphological analysis, crystallinity levels, and tensile, where ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 580 MPa are obtained. The performance property of the resultant composite is comparatively profiled against equivalent material systems in Ashby material property charts, where suitability for light, low-flexure and stiffness limited design applications is evident. Based on the fiber’s non-uniform and irregular geometrical variation, the structural characteristics of the fiber is described by the two-parameter Weibull statistical technique, applied as control to ascertain experimentally determined parameters. The fiber diameters ranged from 148 μm to 304 μm and exhibited corbel-arch and horse-shoe morphology. The composite is of a randomly oriented short-fiber architecture, 0.23 fiber volume fraction. This study concludes that drawbacks to realizing functional cellulosic fiber-polymeric composites can be achieved by the judicious integrated choice of (i) methodology of fiber modification, (ii) proper fiber characterization, and (iii) optimization of processing parameters.
Keywords: Ashby plot, Weibull analysis, sisal-fiber composite, alkali treatment