EFFECT OF TWO PRETREATED RAFFIA PALM (RAPHIA) FIBRES ON POLYESTER COMPOSITE

AUTHOR: ANIKE DAVID CHUKWUDI

DEPARTMENT: PURE AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

The raffia palm (raphia) fibres were manually pulled out from the palm front, washed and dried. The dried fibres were divided into three portions. One portion was treated using acetylating agents (glacial acetic acid and acetic anhydride). The second portion was treated with 10% of NaOH (mercerization). The third portion was left untreated to serve as control. Thereafter, they were ground into particle size of about 1mm.Composites of different compositions were produced by incorporating the ground raffia palm fibres into the polyester resin, at various concentrations of 0%, 5%, 10% 15% and 20%, using methyl ethyl ketone peroxide as catalyst, and cobalt octoate as accelerator. The polyester fibre composites were tested for the following mechanical properties: microhardness, using microhardness tester (model LECO 700AT), ultimate tesile stress modulus of elasticity, tensile strain and extension at break, using instron universal tester (model 3369) according to ASTM D638. The scanning electron micrographs of the samples were taken using SEM machine, model EVO/MA 10. The significant findings of the work showed that the surface modification by the acetylated treatment method improved the mechanical properties of the composite for microhardness, uiltimate tensile stress (at 10% and 20% fibre load) and modulus of elasticity. The alkali treatment method gave better extension at break, and modulus of elasticity (at 10% fibre load). Both treatments improved (decrease) the water absorption capacity and density of the polyester-fibre composites. The scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the composite with fiber of acetylation treatment method, gave enhanced fibre-polymer matrix interfacial bonding than the composites with fibre of alkali treatment method. Composite consisting of 5% of the acetylated treated fibre showed better SEM than the 10%, 15% and 20%. The electrical and thermal conductivities of the composites were carried out using conductivity mega meter and Oven respectively, and results (values) calculated using the formula for the conductivities (electrical and thermal). The results showed that the composites are very high insulators (non-conductors of electricity). The thermal conductivity values obtained showed that the composites can, to some extent, conduct heat.

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