, Volume 48, Issue 18, pp 6083-6107
Date: 11 Jun 2013

Developing plant fibre composites for structural applications by optimising composite parameters: a critical review

Abstract

Plant fibres, perceived as environmentally sustainable substitutes to E-glass, are increasingly being employed as reinforcements in polymer matrix composites. However, despite the promising technical properties of cellulose-based fibres and the historic use of plant fibre reinforced plastics (PFRPs) in load-bearing components, the industrial uptake of PFRPs in structural applications has been limited. Through an up-to-date critical review of the literature, this manuscript presents an overview on key aspects that need consideration when developing PFRPs for structural applications, including the selection of (I) the fibre type, fibre extraction process and fibre surface modification technique, (II) fibre volume fraction, (III) reinforcement geometry and interfacial properties, (IV) reinforcement packing arrangement and orientation and (V) matrix type and composite manufacturing technique. A comprehensive materials selection chart (Ashby plot) is also produced to facilitate the design of a PFRP component, based on the (absolute and specific) tensile properties.