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Study on flexural performance of fabricated natural fiber hybrid polypropylene composite: an experimental investigation through designed experiments

Rajendra Kumar (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Government Polytechnic Firozabad, Firozabad, India)
Ravi Pratap Singh (Department of Industrial and Production Engineering, Dr BR Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India)
Ravinder Kataria (School of Mechanical Engineering, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, India)

World Journal of Engineering

ISSN: 1708-5284

Publication date: 10 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the flexural properties i.e. the flexural strength and the flexural modulus under the influence of selected input variables, namely; fiber type, fiber loading and fiber size in fabricated natural fiber polymeric composites through using Taguchi’s design of experiment methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

The Taguchi’s design of experiment approach has been used to scheme a suitable combination to fabricate the polymeric composites. Pure polypropylene (PP) has been chosen as a matrix material, whereas two types of fibers, namely; wood powder (WP) i.e. sawdust and rice husk powder (RHP), have been used as a reinforcement in the matrix. Microstructure analysis of fabricated and tested samples has also been evaluated and analyzed using a scanning electron microscope. This analysis has divulged that at moderate fiber size and higher fiber loading, no gap or cavities presented between the fillers and matrix particles, which illustrates the good interfacial bonding between the materials.

Findings

The flexural strength of the wood powder pure polypropylene (WPPP) composite decreases if the fiber content gets increased beyond 20 Wt.%. In addition, the flexural strength of hybrid composite (WPRHPPP) has been revealed to get improved more in comparison to composites with single fiber as reinforcement. Furthermore, the flexural modulus of WPPP composite has also increased with the increase in fiber loading. It has been concluded that reinforcement size plays an imperative role in influencing the flexural modulus. The optimum parametric setting for the flexural strength and the flexural modulus has been devised as; fiber type – WPRHP, fiber loading – 10 Wt.% and fiber size – 600 µm; and fiber type – WP, fiber loading – 30 Wt.% and fiber size – 1,180 µm, respectively. The microstructure images clearly revealed that during conducted flexural tests, some particles get disturbed from their bonded position that mainly represents the plastic deformation.

Social implications

The fabricated polymer materials proposed in the research work are green and environmentally friendly.

Originality/value

The natural fiber-based composites are possessing wide-spread requirements in today’s competitive structure of manufacturing and industrial applications. The fabrication of the natural fiber-based composites has also been planned through the designed experiments (namely; Taguchi Methodology- L9 orthogonal array matrix), which, further, makes the analysis more fruitful and qualitative too. The fabricated polymer materials proposed in the research work are green and environmentally friendly. Shisham WP has been rarely used in the past researches; therefore, this factor has been included for the present work. The injection molding process is used to fabricate the three different polymer composite by varying the fiber weight percentage and fiber size.

Keywords

Citation

Kumar, R., Singh, R.P. and Kataria, R. (2019), "Study on flexural performance of fabricated natural fiber hybrid polypropylene composite: an experimental investigation through designed experiments", World Journal of Engineering, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 389-400. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJE-09-2018-0323

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited