Laccase-Enzyme Treated Flax Fibre for Use in Natural Fibre Epoxy Composites.
ABSTRACT: Natural fibres have a high potential as reinforcement of polymer matrices, as they combine a high specific strength and modulus with sustainable production and reasonable prices. Modifying the fibre surface is a common method to increase the adhesion and thereby enhance the mechanical properties of composites. In this study, a novel sustainable surface treatment is presented: the fungal enzyme laccase was utilised with the aim of covalently binding the coupling agent dopamine to flax fibre surfaces. The goal is to improve the interfacial strength towards an epoxy matrix. SEM and AFM micrographs showed that the modification changes the surface morphology, indicating a deposition of dopamine on the surface. Fibre tensile tests, which were performed to check whether the fibre structure was damaged during the treatment, showed that no decrease in tensile strength or modulus occurred. Single fibre pullout tests showed a 30% increase in interfacial shear strength (IFSS) due to the laccase-mediated bonding of the coupling agent dopamine. These results demonstrate that a laccase + dopamine treatment modifies flax fibres sustainably and increases the interfacial strength towards epoxy.
Project description:Growing environmental concerns and stringent waste-flow regulations make the development of sustainable composites a current industrial necessity. Natural fibre reinforcements are derived from renewable resources and are both cheap and biodegradable. When they are produced using eco-friendly, low hazard processes, then they can be considered as a sustainable source of fibrous reinforcement. Furthermore, their specific mechanical properties are comparable to commonly used, non-environmentally friendly glass-fibres. In this study, four types of abundant natural fibres (jute, kenaf, curaua, and flax) are investigated as naturally-derived constituents for high performance composites. Physical, thermal, and mechanical properties of the natural fibres are examined to evaluate their suitability as discontinuous reinforcements whilst also generating a database for material selection. Single fibre tensile and microbond tests were performed to obtain stiffness, strength, elongation, and interfacial shear strength of the fibres with an epoxy resin. Moreover, the critical fibre lengths of the natural fibres, which are important for defining the mechanical performances of discontinuous and short fibre composites, were calculated for the purpose of possible processing of highly aligned discontinuous fibres. This study is informative regarding the selection of the type and length of natural fibres for the subsequent production of discontinuous fibre composites.
Project description:This article features a large statistical database on the tensile properties of natural fibre reinforced composite laminates. The data presented here corresponds to a comprehensive experimental testing program of several composite systems including: different material constituents (epoxy and vinyl ester resins; flax, jute and carbon fibres), different fibre configurations (short-fibre mats, unidirectional, and plain, twill and satin woven fabrics) and different fibre orientations (0°, 90°, and [0,90] angle plies). For each material, ~50 specimens were tested under uniaxial tensile loading. Here, we provide the complete set of stress-strain curves together with the statistical distributions of their calculated elastic modulus, strength and failure strain. The data is also provided as support material for the research article: "The mechanical properties of natural fibre composite laminates: A statistical study" .
Project description:Classical field retting and controlled fungal retting of hemp using Phlebia radiata Cel 26 (a mutant with low cellulose degrading ability) were compared with pure pectinase treatment with regard to mechanical properties of the produced fibre/epoxy composites. For field retting a classification of the microbial evolution (by gene sequencing) and enzyme profiles were conducted. By phylogenetic frequency mapping, different types of fungi, many belonging to the Ascomycota phylum were found on the fibres during the first 2 weeks of field retting, and thereafter, different types of bacteria, notably Proteobacteria, also proliferated on the field retted fibres. Extracts from field retted fibres exhibited high glucanase activities, while extracts from P. radiata Cel 26 retted fibres showed high polygalacturonase and laccase activities. As a result, fungal retting gave a significantly higher glucan content in the fibres than field retting (77 vs. 67%) and caused a higher removal of pectin as indicated by lower galacturonan content of fibres (1.6%) after fibres were retted for 20 days with P. radiata Cel 26 compared to a galacturonan content of 3.6% for field retted fibres. Effective fibre stiffness increased slightly after retting with P. radiata Cel 26 from 65 to 67 GPa, while it decreased after field retting to 52 GPa. Effective fibre strength could not be determined similarly due to variations in fibre fracture strain and fibre-matrix adhesion. A maximum composite strength with 50 vol% fibres of 307 MPa was obtained using P. radiata Cel 26 compared to 248 MPa with field retting.
Project description:This work describes flax fibre reinforced polymeric composites with recent developments. The properties of flax fibres, as well as advanced fibre treatments such as mercerization, silane treatment, acylation, peroxide treatment and coatings for the enhancement of flax/matrix incompatibility are presented. The characteristic properties and characterizations of flax composites on various polymers including polypropylene (PP) and polylactic acid, epoxy, bio-epoxy and bio-phenolic resin are discussed. A brief overview is also given on the recent nanotechnology applied in flax composites.
Project description:Interfacial bonding between fibre and matrix is most critical to obtain enhanced mechanical properties of the resulting composites. Here we present a new surface tailoring method of selective wet etching and organosilicon monomers (3-(Trimethoxysilyl) propyl methacrylate, TMSPMA) deposition process on the short S-Glass fibre as a reinforcing material, resulting in increased mechanical retention and strong chemical bonding between glass fibres and polymer resin (a mixture of triethylene glycol dimethacrylate (TEGDMA) and urethane dimethacrylate (UDMA) monomers). The effect of surface modification on fibre matrix interfacial strength was investigated through microdroplet tests. An S-Glass fibre treated with piranha solution (a mixture of H2O2 and H2SO4) for 24?hours followed by TMSPMA surface silanization shows highest increase up to 39.6% in interfacial shear strength (IFSS), and critical fibre length could be reduced from 916.0?µm to 432.5?µm. We find the optimal surface treatment condition in that the flexural strength of dental composites reinforced by the S-Glass fibres enhanced up to 22.3% compared to the composites without fibre surface treatments. The significant elevation in strength is attributed to changes in the surface roughness of glass fibres at atomic scale, specifically by providing the multiplied spots of the chemical bridge and nano-mechanical interlocking. The findings offer a new strategy for advanced tailoring of short S-Glass fibres to maximise the mechanical properties of biomedical and dental composites.
Project description:Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) were introduced to the aerospace, automobile and civil engineering industries for their high strength and low weight. A key feature of CFRP is the polymer sizing - a coating applied to the surface of the carbon fibres to assist handling, improve the interfacial adhesion between fibre and polymer matrix and allow this matrix to wet-out the carbon fibres. In this paper, we introduce an alternative material to the polymer sizing, namely carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on the carbon fibres, which in addition imparts electrical and thermal functionality. High quality CNTs are grown at a high density as a result of a 35?nm aluminium interlayer which has previously been shown to minimise diffusion of the catalyst in the carbon fibre substrate. A CNT modified-CFRP show 300%, 450% and 230% improvements in the electrical conductivity on the 'surface', 'through-thickness' and 'volume' directions, respectively. Furthermore, through-thickness thermal conductivity calculations reveal a 107% increase. These improvements suggest the potential of a direct replacement for lightning strike solutions and to enhance the efficiency of current de-icing solutions employed in the aerospace industry.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bast fibres from the phloem tissues of flax are scientifically interesting and economically useful due in part to a dynamic system of secondary cell wall deposition. To better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the process of cell wall development in flax, we extracted proteins from individually dissected phloem fibres (i.e. individual cells) at an early stage of secondary cell wall development, and compared these extracts to protein extracts from surrounding, non-fibre cells of the cortex, using fluorescent (DiGE) labels and 2D-gel electrophoresis, with identities assigned to some proteins by mass spectrometry. RESULTS: The abundance of many proteins in fibres was notably different from the surrounding non-fibre cells of the cortex, with approximately 13% of the 1,850 detectable spots being significantly (> 1.5 fold, p < or = 0.05) enriched in fibres. Following mass spectrometry, we assigned identity to 114 spots, of which 51 were significantly enriched in fibres. We observed that a K+ channel subunit, annexins, porins, secretory pathway components, beta-amylase, beta-galactosidase and pectin and galactan biosynthetic enzymes were among the most highly enriched proteins detected in developing flax fibres, with many of these proteins showing electrophoretic patterns consistent with post-translational modifications. CONCLUSION: The fibre-enriched proteins we identified are consistent with the dynamic process of secondary wall deposition previously suggested by histological and biochemical analyses, and particularly the importance of galactans and the secretory pathway in this process. The apparent abundance of beta-amylase suggests that starch may be an unappreciated source of materials for cell wall biogenesis in flax bast fibres. Furthermore, our observations confirm previous reports that correlate accumulation proteins such as annexins, and specific heat shock proteins with secondary cell wall deposition.
Project description:High stiffness and strength carbon fibres are commonly used to reinforce epoxy-resin composites. While wild Antheraea pernyi silk fibres exhibit high toughness originating from their ?-helix/random coil conformation structures and their micro-fibre morphology, their insufficient strength and stiffness hinders them from being used in similar structural composites. In this work, we use interply hybridization of silk and carbon fibres to reinforce epoxy-matrix composites. With increased carbon fibre content, the quasi-static tensile/flexural stiffness and strength increases following the rule of mixtures while more silk fibre acts to increase ductility and impact strength. This results in a composite comprising equal volumes of carbon and silk fibres achieving an impact strength of 98?kJ?m<sup>-2</sup>, which is twice that of purely carbon-fibre reinforced composites (44?kJ?m<sup>-2</sup>). This work shows tough natural silk fibres and strong synthetic fibres can be successfully integrated into epoxy-resin composites for tailored mechanical properties.
Project description:Hypocotyls are a commonly used model to study primary growth in plants, since post-germinative hypocotyls increase in size by cell elongation rather than cell division. Flax hypocotyls produce phloem fibres in bundles one to two cell layers thick, parallel to the protoxylem poles of the stele. Cell wall deposition within these cells occurs rapidly at a well-defined stage of development. The aim was to identify transcripts associated with distinct stages of hypocotyl and phloem fibre development.Stages of flax hypocotyl development were defined by analysing hypocotyl length in relation to fibre secondary wall deposition. Selected stages of development were used in microarray analyses to identify transcripts involved in the transition from elongation to secondary cell wall deposition in fibres. Expression of specific genes was confirmed by qRT-PCR and by enzymatic assays.Genes enriched in the elongation phase included transcripts related to cell-wall modification or primary-wall deposition. Transcripts specifically enriched at the transition between elongation and secondary wall deposition included beta-galactosidase and arabinogalactan proteins. Later stages of wall development showed an increase in secondary metabolism-related transcripts, chitinases and glycosyl hydrolases including KORRIGAN. Microarray analysis also identified groups of transcription factors enriched at one or more stages of fibre development. Subsequent analysis of a differentially expressed beta-galactosidase confirmed that the post-elongation increase in beta-galactosidase enzyme activity was localized to phloem fibres.Transcripts were identified associated with specific stages of hypocotyl development, in which phloem fibre cells were undergoing thickening of secondary walls. Temporal and spatial regulation of beta-galactosidase activity suggests a role for this enzyme in remodelling of flax bast fibre cell walls during secondary cell wall deposition.
Project description:Repeatable patient positioning is key to minimising the burden on planning radiotherapy treatment. There are very few materials commercially available which are suitable for use in all common imaging and treatment modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-Ray computed tomography (CT) and radiotherapy. In this article, we present several such materials based on woven natural fibres embedded in a range of different resin materials which are suitable for such applications. By investigating a range of resins and natural fibre materials in combination and evaluating their performance in terms of MRI and X-Ray imaging, we show that a woven cotton material impregnated with a two-part epoxy resin provides a 15% improvement in passage of X-Rays and has no impact on the MRI signal (unlike the 40% MRI signal attenuation from carbon fibre), whilst also retaining a flexural modulus up to 71% of that of carbon fibre. These results demonstrate that natural fibre composites produced using such materials provide desirable properties for use in patient support and positioning devices for multi-modal imaging, without the need to significantly compromise on the strength of the material.