, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 380-388

Green composites. II. Environment-friendly, biodegradable composites using ramie fibers and soy protein concentrate (SPC) resin

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Fully biodegradable and environment-friendly green composite specimens were made using ramie fibers and soy protein concentrate (SPC) resin. SPC was used as continuous phase resin in green composites. The SPC resin was plasticized with glycerin. Precuring and curing processes for the resin were optimized to obtain required mechanical properties. Unidirectional green composites were prepared by combining 65 % (on weight basis) ramie fibers and SPC resin. The tensile strength and Young’s modulus of these composites were significantly higher compared to those of pure SPC resin. Tensile and flexural properties of the composite in the longitudinal direction were moderate and found to be significantly higher than those of three common wood varieties. In the transverse direction, however, their properties were comparable with those of wood specimens. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs of the tensile fracture surfaces of the green composite indicated good interfacial bonding between ramie fibers and SPC resin. Theoretical values for tensile strength and Young’s modulus, calculated using simple rule of mixture were higher than the experimentally obtained values. The main reasons for this discrepancy are loss of fiber alignment, voids and fiber compression due to resin shrinking during curing.