Feasibility Study of Injection Molding of Polylactic Acid Reinforced with Milkweed Floss Hollow Fibers
Natural solid fibers such as flax, hemp or kenaf are usually mixed with polymeric matrices in order to produce fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) . Thanks to the relative low density of natural fibers, these composites are more weight effective compared to traditional glass reinforced composites. The need of weight saving has led the automotive industry to use this technology for more than three decades.This study tries to push back the well-known natural fiber reinforced composite technology by replacing natural solid fibers by natural hollow fibers in order to decrease the density of composites. Milkweed floss fibers(Asclepias Syriaca) used in this study are straw-like fibers showing unique properties such as mold resistance, sound and thermal insulation and an average density at least four times lower than solid fibers. During this study, milkweed floss reinforced composites have been produced by injection molding of polylactic acid (PLA) reinforced with raw milkweed fibers. The evolution of the fibers morphology in terms of collapsing and length were investigated during FRP processing. The interface between the fibers and the FRP matrix was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were performed on the FRP to characterize their mechanical properties and to calculate their crystallization rate respectively.
Author: Pierre Ovlaque
Conference: SAMPE Seattle 2017