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www.elsevier.com/locate/compositesa

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

Abstract

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.

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: liyan@mail.tongji.edu.cn (Y. Li). conventionally man-made ﬁbers, like glass or carbon ﬁbers,

1359-835X/$ - see front matter 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.compositesa.2007.07.005

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].

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 [%]

interfacial bonding parameters of the composites. A mod-

20

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

10

test. The results were compared with those obtained from

conventional method. A suggestion for the evaluation of

0

100 150 200 250 300 IFSS of natural ﬁber reinforced polymeric composites

Diameter [μm] was proposed.

2.1. Materials

20

15 lia. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) was supplied by

Percentage [%]

and HDPE matrix are shown in Table 1.

10

2.2. Fiber surface treatments

5

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 –

a

Data obtained from Hoechst Australia Limited.

CH2CH3CCOO(CH2)3Si(OCH3)3.

water to form silanol and alcohol:

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].

OG + H2O

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

CCOO(CH2)3Si(OH)2OG + H2O

Matrix

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

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]

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

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

σd

Applied stress [MPa]

20

0

σd 30

15

σfr

σ fr [MPa]

20

10

5

10

0

0 1 2 3 4 5

0

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.

Fig. 9 shows the post-debond frictional pull-out stresses

1=2

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

ðMPaÞ

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

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

32.9

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

45

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 [%]

5 1800-2100

m

t 18.6

F ðtÞ ¼ 1 exp ð16Þ

t0 15

8.6

where t is the dimension, m is the Weibull shape param- 3

1.5

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]

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

4.3

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

2

a large value of m corresponding to small scatter in Cross-sectional area [μ m ]

dimension.

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

2

cross-sections, the interfacial shear strength (IFSS) can be

calculated by the equation:

ln (-ln(1-p))

0

0 2 4 6 8 IFSS ¼ P =ð2prlÞ ð18Þ

-2

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

2

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

4

perimeter:

2 P P

s¼ ¼ ð19Þ

le C le EX

ln (-ln(1-p))

6 6.5 7 7.5 8 distribution value and is given by the following equation:

-2

1

EX ¼ t0 C 1 þ ð20Þ

y = 4.7808x - 34.255

m

-4 2

R = 0.8867

where, t0 and m are the two Weibull parameters and can be

-6

obtained from the above statistical sampling method.

ln (t) Z 1

CðaÞ ¼ xa1 ex dx ð21Þ

4 0

2

Fig. 12 compares the IFSS of treated and untreated sisal

ﬁbers reinforced HDPE matrix by the conventional and the

ln (-ln(1-p))

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

-2

4

-4 y = 3.3033x - 36.496 Conventional

2.9

2

R = 0.9225 Modified 3.2

3 2.9

-6 2.7

IFSS [MPa]

ln (t)

Fig. 11. Welbull distribution of sisal ﬁber (a) diameters, (b) perimeters 1.6 1.5 2.0

and (c) cross-sectional areas.

2

1.6

1.3 1.4

1

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

parameter

Fig. 12. Interfacial shear strength of sisal ﬁber reinforced HDPE

Weibull scale parameter 291.76 lm 1293.52 lm 62839.91 lm2

composites.

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-

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