Non-traditional lightweight polypropylene composites reinforced withmilkweed floss

Narendra Reddy, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lightweight composites are preferred for automotive applications due to the weight restrictions and also due to the presence of inherent voids that can enhance the sound absorption of these composites. The density of the reinforcing materials plays a crucial role in such lightweight composites.Milkweed is a unique natural cellulose fiber that has a completely hollow center and low density (0.9 g cm-3) unlike any other natural cellulose fiber. The low density of milkweed fiberswill allow the incorporation of higher amounts of fiber per unit weight of a composite, which is expected to lead to lightweight composites with better properties. Polypropylene (PP) composites reinforced with milkweed fibers have much better flexural and tensile properties than similar PP composites reinforced with kenaf fibers. Milkweed fiber-reinforced composites havemuch higher strength but are stiffer than kenaf fiber-reinforced PP composites. Increasing the proportion of milkweed in the composites from 35 to 50% increases the flexural strength but decreases the tensile strength. The low density of milkweed fibers allows the incorporation of higher amounts of fibers per unit weight of the composites and hence provides better properties compared to composites reinforced with common cellulose fiberswith relatively high density. This research shows that low-density reinforcingmaterials canmore efficiently reinforce lightweight composites.

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Keywords

  • Cellulose fibers
  • Composites
  • Low weight
  • Milkweed
  • Polypropylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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