Swelling Characteristics and Tensile Properties of Natural Fiber Reinforced Plastic in Selected Solvents
The swelling behavior and tensile strength of natural fiber-reinforced plastic in premium motor spirit (PMS), dual purpose kerosene (DPK) and sea water have been studied. Composite formed by reinforcing polyester resin with Okam fibers was immersed in the selected solvents for 16 weeks (4 months). Swelling characteristics of samples of this composite material were determined by monitoring- forth nightly, changes in weight of the samples within the test period and tensile test was conducted on the samples after 16 weeks using Hounsfeild (Monsanto) tensometer. The results show that the solvents reduced the strengths of the composite with PMS giving the highest reduction in strength followed by DPK and then sea water. Reduction in strength was attributed to the weakening of the interfacial bonding between the polyester matrix and reinforcing okam fibers.