Natural fibre surface treatment for use in polymer-based composites

Lead academic: Dr G Ren  Supporting Academic: Dr A Chrysanthou and B Wibberley

Research Student: Y Lee

Funding: £90K

Funding body: EPSRC/BRE ICASE

Industrial Supervisor: Mr A Williams, BRE

Period: 2010-14     EPSRC iCASE Grant: 0800171 (2009 – 2013)  Industrial Support Company: BRE  G Ren (PI), A Chrysanthou (Co. 1), (Co. 2)  School of Aerospace, Automotive and Design Engineering  University of Hertfordshire

This project covers Lightweight natural fibre composite materials with manufacturing/processing for energy savings for automotive/transportation, building construction, and aerospace applications. The project aims to develop a systematic natural fibre surface treatment formulation and processing methodology to enable the use of functional fabrics for composites.

Natural fibres are cost-effective supporting low-carbon economy due to their abundance and fast growth rate.      The challenges in applying natural fibres and their composites come from their poor impact properties and inferior flame retardancy compared to glass fibre or other man-made fibre systems. However, the preliminary research on natural fibre composites has shown that the fibre surface can be treated to provide significant enhancement in the impact property and fire performance.

Anti-dazzling board on the motorway can be a good product for low-cost fast-production natural fibre composites

Anti-dazzling board on the motorway can be a good product for low-cost fast-production natural fibre composites