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Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578

Interfacial studies of sisal fiber reinforced high density

polyethylene (HDPE) composites
Yan Li *, Chunjing Hu, Yehong Yu
School of Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Key Laboratory of Advanced Civil Engineering Materials,
Ministry of Education, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, PR China

Received 6 March 2007; received in revised form 3 June 2007; accepted 27 July 2007


Statistical method was employed to study and describe the structure characteristics of natural fibers in this paper due to their non-
uniform, irregular and composite structures. Two types of fiber surface treatment methods, namely chemical bonding and oxidization
were used to improve the interfacial bonding properties of natural fiber reinforced polymeric composites. Interfacial properties were eval-
uated and analyzed by single fiber pull-out test and the theoretical model. The interfacial shear strength (IFSS) was obtained by the sta-
tistical parameters. The results were compared with those obtained by traditional ways. Based on this study, an improved method which
could more accurately evaluate the interfacial properties between natural fiber and polymeric matrices was proposed.
 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: A. Natural fiber composites; B. Interface; C. Statistical method; E. Surface treatments

1. Introduction [4–6]. Some experimental techniques, from micro scale to

macro scale, such as single fiber pull-out test, single fiber
Natural fiber reinforced polymer composites have raised fragmentation test, short beam shear test, mode I and
great attentions and interests among materials scientists mode II interlaminar fracture toughness, etc. have been
and engineers in recent years due to the considerations of employed to evaluate the interfacial performances of this
(1) developing an environmental friendly material and (2) kind of composites. Among these methods, direct measure-
partly replacing currently used glass or carbon fibers in ments by single fiber tests are more accurate and can be
fiber reinforced composites. They are high specific strength used to evaluate the bonding mechanisms both qualita-
and modulus materials, low prices, recyclable, easy avail- tively and quantitatively. Microstructures of the fibers are
able in some countries, etc. Many researches have been crucial factors in obtaining the interfacial performance of
conducted to study the mechanical properties, especially the composites investigated by these methods. It is known
interfacial performances of the composites based on natu- that natural fibers are non-uniform with irregular cross-
ral fibers due to the poor interfacial bonding between the sections which make their structures quite unique and
hydrophilic natural fibers and the hydrophobic polymer much different with man-made fibers, such as glass fibers,
matrices. Worldwide laboratories have worked on this carbon fibers, etc. However, these have been rarely consid-
topic [1–3]. Many researches focused on using different ered in the previous studies.
fiber surface treatment methods to improve interfacial Fig. 1 shows a cross-section and surface structure of a
bonding properties of natural fiber reinforced composites sisal fiber which clearly indicates the unique structure of
natural fibers. Distributions of fiber diameter and tensile
strength of sisal fibers shown in Figs. 2 and 3 further
Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 21 65982271; fax: +86 21 65983267. improve the non-uniformity of sisal fibers [7]. However,
E-mail address: (Y. Li). conventionally man-made fibers, like glass or carbon fibers,

1359-835X/$ - see front matter  2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578 571

Fig. 1. (a) Cross-section and (b) surface morphology of a sisal fiber [1].

50 improve the interfacial bonding properties between sisal

fiber and HDPE matrix. The bonding mechanisms of sisal
40 fiber reinforced HDPE before and after fiber surface treat-
ments were explained by the fiber pull-out process. Gao–
Percentage [%]

30 Mai–Cotterell model [8] was employed to quantify the

interfacial bonding parameters of the composites. A mod-
ified method by using statistical parameters was used to
evaluate the interfacial shear strength (IFSS) of natural
fiber reinforced composites based on single fiber pull-out
test. The results were compared with those obtained from
conventional method. A suggestion for the evaluation of
100 150 200 250 300 IFSS of natural fiber reinforced polymeric composites
Diameter [μm] was proposed.

Fig. 2. Distribution of sisal fiber diameter [7]. 2. Materials and experiment

2.1. Materials

Sisal fibers were provided by Kinnears Pty Ltd, Austra-

15 lia. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) was supplied by
Percentage [%]

Hoechst (Australia) Ltd. The basic properties of sisal fibers

and HDPE matrix are shown in Table 1.
2.2. Fiber surface treatments
Two types of fiber surface treatment methods, namely,
chemical coupling and oxidization, were used to try to
0 improve the interfacial bonding properties between sisal
0 200 400 600 800 1000 fiber and HDPE matrix.
Tensile strength [MPa]

Fig. 3. Distribution of sisal fiber tensile strength [7]. 2.2.1. Chemical coupling
Two kinds of silanes, i.e. 3-aminopropyltriethoxy silane
(silane 1) and gamma-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxy
normally have round and uniform structures. Therefore, it silane (silane 2), were used as coupling agents to modify
is not appropriate to apply those conventional methods the surface of the sisal fibers. They were diluted to a 6%
which usually used to evaluate the interfacial properties concentration in acetone before use. The sisal fibers were
of man-made fibers reinforced composites directly to the immersed into silane solution for 24 h and then cleaned
interfacial study of natural fiber reinforced composites. by acetone and dried in the oven at 60 C for 4 h to remove
In this paper, sisal fiber reinforced high density polyeth- the excessive solvent. The chemical formulae of the silanes
ylene (HDPE) composites were made to study the interfa- are:
cial properties of natural fiber reinforced composites.
Two types of fiber surface treatment methods, namely, Silane1: 3-aminopropyltriethoxy silane,
chemical bonding and oxidization were employed to H2N–(CH2)3–Si(OC2H5)3.
572 Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578

Table 1
Basic properties of sisal fiber and HDPE
Fiber diameter Density (g/cm3) Water content (%) Tensile strength Tensile modulus Elongation at break
(lm) (MPa) (GPa) (%)
Sisal fiber 100–300 1.4 9.8 100–700 25–50 3–6
HDPEa – 0.96 – 26 1.1 –
Data obtained from Hoechst Australia Limited.

Silane 2: gamma-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxy silane, Glue Machined slot


In the presence of moisture, silanes 1 and 2 react with

water to form silanol and alcohol:

Silane 1: NH2(CH2)3Si(OC2H5)3 + 3H2O = (HO)3Si(CH2)3

NH2 + 3(C2H5OH)
Silane 2: CH2CH3CCOO(CH2)3Si(OCH3)3 + 3H2O = (HO)3
Si(CH2)3OOCCCH3CH2 + 3 (CH3OH)

Then silanol reacts with the hydroxyl groups attached to Folding line
Fibre Polyamide film
the glucose units, G, of the cellulose molecules in the fiber
cell-wall, thereby bonding itself to the cell-wall, further Fig. 4. Schematic drawing of sample preparation for sisal/HDPE single
rejecting water: fiber pull-out test [1].

Silane 1: NH2(CH2)3Si(OH)3 + GOH = NH2(CH2)3 Si(OH)2

OG + H2O
Silane 2: (HO)3Si(CH2)3OOCCCH3CH2 + GOH = CH2CH3 Glass Slide

When combined with the matrix resin, other functional Fibre

groups of the silane molecule, such as NH2 for silane 1 and
C@C groups for silane 2, would react with suitable groups Cutting line
of the resin. Thus, chemical bonding could be set up
between the sisal fiber and the matrix. Interfacial properties Glue
could thus be improved.
Paper sample frame
2.2.2. Oxidization
Permanganate (KMnO4) and dicumyl peroxide (DCP)
Fig. 5. Schematic of specimen geometry of single fiber pull-out test [1].
were selected as the oxidants to treat the fiber surface.
Sisal fibers were immersed in a 0.055% permanganate
acetone solution for 2 min [9], cleaned with acetone, and was folded and a machined slot introduced. The embedded
dried at 60 C for 4 h to remove excessive solvent. For fiber length was controlled by the width of the slot. Then
the DCP treatment, sisal fibers were immersed into a the film was unfolded and several sisal fibers were glued
DCP acetone solution (6% concentration) for 1.5 h and onto the film and folded again. Hence the sisal fibers were
washed with acetone. Drying was performed in the same protected between the films except the slot part which
way as for the permanganate treatment. would be exposed. The film and exposed fibers were
All fibers were heated in an oven at 120 C to remove the embedded in the HDPE matrix and hot pressed at 180 C
moisture before treatment and all treated fibers were stored for 10 min. After cooling, excessive matrix material was
in sealed plastic bags before being used. removed and then attached to a paper frame shown in
Fig. 5 [1].
2.3. Specimen preparation for single fiber pull-out test
2.4. Single fiber pull-out tests
Single fiber pull-out test was conducted based on the
ASTM standard (ASTM D3379-75) for single fiber tensile An Instron 5576 testing machine was used and the load–
test. Fig. 4 is a schematic drawing for the specimen prepa- displacement curves were obtained during single fiber pull-
ration of single sisal/HDPE pull-out test. A polyamide film out tests. After securing the specimen in the grips, the two
Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578 573

sides of the paper frame were cut along the cutting line sisal fiber bundle was broken down into many small fibers,
(Fig. 5), and the fiber was then loaded until it was pulled increasing the effective surface area available for contact
out from the matrix. The gauge length was 10 mm with a with the matrix resin. The nature of the bonding is mainly
cross-head speed of 1 mm/min. mechanical interlocking with little chemical bonding. So,
the linear increase in load represents primarily the fric-
tional shear stress transfer across the interface without vir-
3. Results and discussion tual debonding until the frictional resistance over the entire
embedded fiber length is overcome. The decreasing portion
3.1. Interfacial bonding mechanisms of the load–displacement curve is self-explanatory as the
fiber is pulled out from the matrix.
The load–displacement curves obtained for the treated However, silane treated sisal fibers show a totally unsta-
and untreated sisal fibers with the HDPE matrix during ble debonding process from their load–displacement curves
single fiber pull-out tests are given in Fig. 6. Two different obtained from single fiber pull-out tests (Fig. 6). The initial
types of load–displacement curves have been observed. The debond leads immediately to complete debonding. The
load–displacement curves of untreated, the DCP and load–displacement curve shows a monotonic increase in
KMnO4 treated sisal fibers are typical of ‘stable’ pull-out load until debonding is initiated, followed by an instanta-
for a mainly mechanically bonded interface as described neous load drop, indicating complete debonding. The
by Zhou et al. [10]. The rising portion of the debond load slowly load decreasing part followed by the complete deb-
versus displacement curve is typically linear without appar- onding was the fiber pulled out from the matrix.
ent ‘stick-slips’ and there is no significant load drop after
complete debonding. Due to the oxidization function of
the permanganate and DCP, the sisal fiber surface was 3.2. Evaluating interfacial characteristics by theoretical
etched and became quite rough, as shown in Fig. 7. The model

When a fiber reinforced composite material fails, frac-

3 ture energies are normally absorbed by matrix cracking,
Untreated fiber fracture, fiber–matrix interface debonding and fric-
permangate treated tional work follow debonding and fiber pull-out. Generally
Silane 2 treated
DCP treated
there are two approaches to solve this problem: one is
2 based on a maximum shear stress criterion such that it is
Silane 1 treated
Load [N]

equal to the shear strength of the fiber matrix interface

for debonding [11–13]. The other is based on fracture
1 mechanics treating debonding as a particular fracture
propagation problem [14–16]. However friction is seldom
included in the analyses presented by previous investiga-
0 tors. Gao, Mai and Cotterell [8] proposed their own model
0 1 2 3 based on the relationship between the debond and post-
Displacement [mm] debond frictional pull-out stresses versus the embedded
Fig. 6. Load–displacement curves of single fiber pull-out tests for sisal/ fiber length. It has been demonstrated that the model is
HDPE composites with different surface treatments. able to determine the inherent interfacial properties includ-
ing interfacial fracture toughness, Gic, coefficient of fric-
tion, l, and the residual fiber clamping stress, q0. In
Gao–Mai–Cotterell’s model, the debonded interface was
regarded as a crack. Progressive and stable debonding with
a constant fracture energy criterion, i.e., G = Gic was
assumed. Friction at the debonded interface and fiber Pois-
son contraction are considered in the analysis. Fig. 8 shows
a typical load–displacement curve during single fiber pull-
out tests.
In Gao–Mai–Cotterel’s model, the partial debond stress
is expressed as

rPd ¼ r0d þ ð
r  r0d Þf1  exp½kðL  zÞg ð1Þ

and the initial frictional pull-out stress is expressed as

Fig. 7. SEM photograph showing a sisal fiber after being treated by
permanganate. rfr ¼ r
½1  expðkLÞ ð2Þ
574 Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578

25 40
p σd
Applied stress [MPa]

σd 30

σ fr [MPa]


0 1 2 3 4 5
Displacement [mm] 0 1 2 3 4
Fig. 8. Typical load–displacement curve during single fiber pull-out test Embedded fibre length [mm]
(r0d is the initial debond stress, rpd is partial debond stress, rd is the
Fig. 9. Initial friction pullout stress versus embedded fiber length of
complete debond stress and rfr is the frictional stress).
untreated sisal fiber reinforced HDPE.

where r0d is the initial debond stress and is expressed as

Fig. 9 shows the post-debond frictional pull-out stresses
4Ef Gic versus the embedded fiber length of sisal fiber reinforced
r0d  ð3Þ HDPE composites. Due to the fracture mechanisms stud-
að1  2kvf Þ
ied in the above section, the debond stress versus embedded
 and k are the asymptotic debond stress and the reciprocal
r fiber length of untreated sisal fiber reinforced HDPE curves
friction length. They are expressed as cannot be obtained. Only rfr versus L curve can be get.
k ¼ 2lk=a ð4Þ Moreover, from Fig. 9, it shows that the plateau ð rÞ cannot
be achieved. Then q0 was calculated first by Takaku and
 ¼ ðq0 =kÞf1 þ ðc=aÞðvm =vf Þg  q0 =k
r ð5Þ
Arridge’s method [17].
where Based on Takaku and Arridge’s method,
q0 ¼ AK ð13Þ
a ¼ Em =Ef ð6Þ
k ¼ ðavf þ cvm Þ=fað1  vf Þ þ 1 þ vm þ 2cg ð7Þ where
2 2 2
c ¼ a =ðb  a Þ ð8Þ E m mf
K¼ ð14Þ
Ef ð1 þ mm Þ
In the above expressions, L is the embedded fiber length, mf,
mm are the Poisson’s ratios of the fiber and the matrix rfr ¼ A½1  expðBLÞ ð15Þ
respectively, a and b are the diameter of the fiber, the ma- and A is a parameter which can be get by a graphical
trix. Z is the distance still bonded and Ef and Em are the method.
Young’s modulus of fiber and matrix. Then q0 was obtained and equaled to 0.146 MPa. So
The curves of debond stress rd or frictional stress rfr ver- far, the interfacial parameters, including l, sf can then be
sus embedded fiber length can be obtained from single fiber calculated by Gao–Mai–Cotterel model. Due to the
pull-out test. When the interface was completely debonded, unavailable of r0d value, GIC can not be calculated for this
i.e., z = 0, the following expressions can be obtained from case. The parameters used to calculate these interfacial
Eqs. (1) and (2). parameters are listed in Table 2 and the results are shown
in Table 3. These data quantitatively describe the interfa-
rd ¼ r0d þ ð
r  r0d Þ½1  ekL  ð9Þ
cial performance of sisal fiber reinforced HDPE
½drd =dLL!0 ¼ kð
r r0d Þ ð10aÞ composites.
½drfr =dLL!0 ¼ k
r ð10bÞ Due to the large scatter of the results obtained from the
single fiber pull-out tests, the interfacial parameters for the
L ! 1; rd ¼ r
 ð11aÞ treated sisal fiber reinforced HDPE matrix are not
rfr ¼ r
 ð11bÞ available.
L ! 0; rd ¼ r0d ð12Þ
Table 2
Based on Eqs. (10)–(12) and rd versus L or rfr versus L Materials constants used in the calculations
curves, r0d , r
 and k can be obtained. The interfacial param-
Ef (GPa) Em (GPa) Uf Um a (mm)
eters, such as q0, l, sf and GIC can be calculated according
Sisal/HDPE 30 1.30 0.35 0.35 0.15
to Eqs. (3)–(8).
Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578 575

Table 3
Interfacial properties of sisal fiber reinforced HDPE matrix
r r0d ðMPaÞ k (mm1) A (MPa) K q0 (MPa) l sf (MPa)
Sisal/HDPE 5.36 – 1.50 13.36 0.011 0.15 4.02 0.60

3.3. Dimensional parameters of sisal fibers 60

1 50-150
47.1 2 150-250
The Weibull distribution was used to describe and ana- 3 250-350
lyze the dimensions of sisal fibers. Seventy single sisal fibers

Probability [%]
4 350-450
were randomly selected and the dimensional parameters, 40 5 450-550
including diameters, perimeters and cross-sectional areas, 6 550-650
were measured with the aid of microscopy and image anal-
ysis technique and the results are shown in Fig. 10. It is 20
confirmed again that sisal fibers are very non-uniform.
For example, the diameters of sisal fiber vary from 50 lm 5.7 5.7 4.3 4.3
to 650 lm. The distribution of fiber perimeters was from
600 lm to 2400 lm. While the cross-sectional areas were 0
in the range of 2.5 · 104 to 1.45 · 105 lm2. Therefore, it 1 2 3 4 5 6
Diameter [μm]
is quite inappropriate to use a specific value, such as the
average diameter to describe the dimensions of natural
fibers. A statistical method has to be applied to describe
1 600-900
and analyze the dimensions of natural fibers. From the 35.7
32.6 2 900-1200
two-parameter Weibull model, the cumulative failure prob- 3 1200-1500
Probability [%]

ability is given by 30 4 1500-1800

5 1800-2100
t 18.6
F ðtÞ ¼ 1  exp  ð16Þ
t0 15
where t is the dimension, m is the Weibull shape param- 3
eter and t0 is the local scale parameter. The cumulative
probability, Pi, under a particular dimension is approxi- 0
1 2 3 4 5 6
mated by Perimeter [ μm]

P i ¼ ðni  0:5Þ=n ð17Þ 50

1 25000-45000
2 45000-65000
where ni is the number of fibers having dimensions at or 40 37.1
3 65000-85000
below a certain value and n is the total number of fibers 32.9
Probability [%]

4 85000-105000
measured. In practice, a plot of ln[ln(1  P)] versus ln(t) 30 5 105000-125000
is often used for a given numbers of specimens to deter- 22.9 6 125000-145000
mine the Weibull shape parameter, m, and scale parame-
ter, t0. Fig. 11 shows plots of ln[ln(1  P)] versus ln(t) 20
for the diameter, perimeter and cross-sectional area of si-
sal fibers, which are all in close agreements with the Wei- 10
bull equation. The Weibull parameters, m and t0, were 1.4 1.4
calculated from Fig. 11 and listed in Table 4. The m is 0
a measure of the variability of the fiber dimensions, with 1 2 3 4 5 6
a large value of m corresponding to small scatter in Cross-sectional area [μ m ]
Fig. 10. Distribution of (a) diameters, (b) perimeters and (c) cross-
It can be seen that the Weibull shape parameter for the sectional areas of sisal fibers.
perimeters of sisal fibers is the largest, which means the
smallest scatter among fiber diameters, perimeters and
cross-sectional areas. Therefore, instead of using diameter
in the conventional method to calculate the interfacial ites, using perimeter to do the calculation might lead to a
shear strength of sisal fiber reinforced polymeric compos- more authentic result.
576 Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578

4 3.4. Interfacial shear strength by single fiber pull-out test

Normally, for those fibers having circular and uniform

cross-sections, the interfacial shear strength (IFSS) can be
calculated by the equation:
ln (-ln(1-p))

0 2 4 6 8 IFSS ¼ P =ð2prlÞ ð18Þ
where r is the fiber radius, P is the maximum pull-out load
and l is the embedded fiber length.
-4 y = 3.2844x - 18.642
From the above statistical analysis of the dimensions for
R = 0.8641
sisal fibers, it was found that the scatter for the distribution
-6 of fiber perimeter is smaller than the other dimensions, like
ln (t) diameters or cross-sectional areas. Therefore, the above
equation can be modified by replacing diameter by fiber

2 P P
s¼ ¼ ð19Þ
le C le EX
ln (-ln(1-p))

0 where, C is the fiber perimeter. EX is the average Weibull

6 6.5 7 7.5 8 distribution value and is given by the following equation:
EX ¼ t0 C 1 þ ð20Þ
y = 4.7808x - 34.255
-4 2
R = 0.8867
where, t0 and m are the two Weibull parameters and can be
obtained from the above statistical sampling method.
ln (t) Z 1
CðaÞ ¼ xa1 ex dx ð21Þ
4 0

where C(Æ) is gamma function.

Fig. 12 compares the IFSS of treated and untreated sisal
fibers reinforced HDPE matrix by the conventional and the
ln (-ln(1-p))

0 current method, respectively. It can be seen from both

10 10.5 11 11.5 12 methods that the IFSS between sisal fibers and the HDPE

-4 y = 3.3033x - 36.496 Conventional
R = 0.9225 Modified 3.2
3 2.9
-6 2.7

ln (t)

Fig. 11. Welbull distribution of sisal fiber (a) diameters, (b) perimeters 1.6 1.5 2.0
and (c) cross-sectional areas.
1.3 1.4

Table 4
Welbull parameters for the dimensions of sisal fibers
Diameter Perimeter Cross-sectional
areas 0
Weibull shape 3.28 4.78 3.30 Untreated Silane 1 Silane 2 DCP KMnO4
Fig. 12. Interfacial shear strength of sisal fiber reinforced HDPE
Weibull scale parameter 291.76 lm 1293.52 lm 62839.91 lm2
Y. Li et al. / Composites: Part A 39 (2008) 570–578 577

matrix can be improved considerably by appropriate fiber the matrix. This is identified to be the major contribution
surface treatments. For example, after permanganate treat- to the interface bonding between permanganate and DCP
ment, the IFSS has been improved from 1.6 MPa to treated sisal fibers reinforced HDPE composites. Van der
3.2 MPa. Silane 2 can also improve the IFSS to 2.9 MPa. Waals force can be set up between gamma-methacryloxy-
As we all know, permanganate and DCP are oxidates. propyltrimethoxy silane (silane 2) treated sisal fibers and
They can etch the sisal fiber surface and make it rougher, the HDPE matrix. Therefore, the IFSS can be improved
so that mechanical interlocking can be introduced between greatly. 3-aminopropyltriethoxy silane (silane 1) can only
the sisal fiber and the HDPE matrix. This has been react with the sisal fibers but not with the HDPE, so the
explained in the section discussing the bonding mechanisms IFSS is almost the same as that of the untreated
in the previous part. The lignin which acts as the bonding composites.
material between thousands of microfibers was etched out Statistical method is a proper way to describe the
so that the contact surface for the fiber to the matrix was dimensional characteristics of sisal fibers. The perimeter
dramatically increased. However, silanes are normally used of sisal fibers shows the smallest scatter and is used to cal-
as coupling agents. Silane 2 has a carbon main chain, which culate the IFSS. The comparison to the results obtained
could set up van der Waals bonds with the HDPE matrix by conventional method indicates that the IFSS calculated
because of their similar chemical structures. The presence by the proposed method show a smaller standard
of Si atoms on the silane 2 treated sisal fibers has been deviation.
detected by SEM-EDAX analysis [18]. Though van der Two kinds of debonding processes of the treated and
Waals bonds are not as strong as other primary bonds, untreated sisal fiber reinforced HDPE are observed. Per-
they could still improve the bonding property between sisal manganate and DCP treated sisal fiber reinforced HDPE
fiber and the HDPE matrix. In this context, it should be show a stable debonding process. Silane treated sisal fiber
noted that HDPE is non-polar and sisal is poorly polar, reinforced HDPE show an unstable debonding process.
thus leading to generally weak bonding between them. Inherent interfacial parameters can be calculated by
Silane 1 does not have a long carbon chain structure, so Gao–Mai–Cotterell’s model.
no chemical bonding can occur between HDPE and sisal
fiber. Hence, IFSS between silane 1 treated sisal fiber and Acknowledgements
HDPE is similar to that of the untreated fiber. IFSS of
treated and untreated sisal fibers with HDPE are ranked The project is financially supported by the National
as follows: permanganate treated sisal/HDPE > silane 2 Natural Science Foundation (Project No. 10602040) and
treated sisal/HDPE > DCP treated sisal/HDPE > un- Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai munici-
treated sisal/HDPE > silane 1 treated sisal/HDPE. pality (Project No. 05PJ14095) of P.R. China. Y. Li would
From the above study, it can be concluded that though also like to thank Prof. Y-W Mai and Prof. L. Ye at the
both two types of fiber surface treatment methods can Center for Advanced Materials Technology (CAMT),
improve the IFSS of sisal fiber reinforced HDPE matrix, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engi-
the improving mechanisms are quite different. These corre- neering, University of Sydney, for their guidance, encour-
sponded very well to the two distinct types of pull-out agement and valuable suggestions for this work.
load–displacement curves presented in the previous section.
From Fig. 12, it also clearly indicates that the IFSS cal-
culated from the modified method and the conventional
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