, Volume 40, Issue 23, pp 6263-6273
Date: 08 Sep 2005

‘Green’ composites Part 1: Characterization of flax fabric and glutaraldehyde modified soy protein concentrate composites

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Abstract

Fully biodegradable, environment friendly ‘green’ composites were prepared using glutaraldehyde (GA) modified soy protein concentrate (MSPC-G) and flax fabric. Soy protein concentrate (SPC) polymer has low tensile properties, poor moisture resistance and is brittle. SPC polymer with 15% glycerin, as an external plasticizer, exhibited fracture stress and Young's modulus of 17 and 368 MPa, respectively. SPC polymer was cross-linked with GA to increase its tensile properties and improve its processability as a resin to manufacture flax fabric-reinforced composites. GA reacts with the free amine groups in SPC to form crosslinks. MSPC-G showed 20% increase in fracture stress and 35% increase in Young's modulus as well as improved moisture resistance compared to SPC. Besides the mechanical properties, MSPC-G was also characterized for its thermal stability and dynamic mechanical properties.

Composite laminates, approximately 1 mm thick, were made using flax fabric and MSPC-G polymer. Composite specimens were prepared with two different orientations, namely, 0° or 90°. The laminates exhibited a Young's modulus of 1.01 and 1.26 GPa in the longitudinal and transverse directions, respectively. The experimental values were compared with the theoretical predictions using pcGINA© software and showed good agreement. The composite specimens also showed good adhesion between flax fabric and MSPC-G resin.