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International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol:10 No:03

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A Comparison Process Between Vacuum Infusion and Hand Lay-Up Method Toward Kenaf/Polyster Composites

Mohd Yuhazri, Y., Phongsakorn, P. T., Haeryip Sihombing

Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Karung Berkunci 1752 Durian Tunggal Melaka, MALAYSIA 76109 Email: yuhazri@utem.edu.my

AbstractThis study is about reinforced kenaf fibres with processed of polyester composites resin by using vacuum infusion and hand lay-up method. Here, the continues long kenaf fibre s material were used and treated by using different concentration of sodium hydroxide (NaOH), that is 6 % and 9 %. Based on the findings, vacuum infusion process appears to produce higher results of composite tensile properties compared to the composites manufacture d by hand lay-up method. Also, vacuum infusion method used in this study offers the advantages over hand lay-up method for better comparison ratio between fibres to resin which resulting in stronger and lighter laminates. The kenaf-polyester composite manufactured by vacuum infusion process provides an opportunity of replacing existing materials with a higher strength, low-cost alternative that is environmentally friendly.

Index Term--

up.

kenaf, polyester, vacuum infusion, hand lay-

I.

INTRODUCTION

Nowadays, natural fibres form an interesting option for the most widely applied fibre in the composite technology. This because natural composite materials having many exceptional properties that are difficult or impossible to match with traditional materials (i.e. steel, aluminium, and wood). The advantages of the natural materials are renewable, environmental friendly, low cost, low density, flexibility of usage and biodegradability [4], [8]. Many studies on these natural fibres have been done, such as kenaf [1] [7], bagasse [2], jute [3], ramie, hemp [3] and oil palm [8]). Here, Kenaf or also known as Hibiscus Cann abinus L., has been found to be an important source fibres for composites and other industrial applications. Traditionally, Kenaf bast fibres are used to rope, twine, and course sacking materials. However, beside biodegradable and environmentally friendly crop, this natural material also has a potential as reinforced fibres in thermosets and thermoplastics composites.

In this study, the modifications of kenaf fibres needed to improve mechanical properties of composites [4] [7]. That is to reinforce polyester resin composite through vacuum infusion resin process and hand lay-up method. Against the efficiency of the fibres- reinforced composites that are also depends on the manufacturing process, the ability to transfer stress from the matrix to fibres [5], and the comparisons of their tensile performances are investigated as well.

II. MATERIAL AND METHODS

Materials Kenaf fibres used is obtained from Lembaga Tembakau Negara (National Tobacco Board), Malaysia. The fibres form is long bast fibres and processed through the water retting process. The polyester resin and sodium hidroxide (NaOH) for the modification process is supplied by Leong Kern Enterprise and Jasa Chemical Sdn. Bhd. respectively.

Fibre treatment In this study, chemical retting involves NaOH solution, water washing and drying. Concentration of NaOH is shown in Table I. The concentration of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) was the key factor affecting the treatment, where there are 2 chemical treatments used. After washing the fibres material is thoroughly under the warm tap water for seven times (this is done after a soaking process in NaOH), then the drying process should be conducted in room temperature for 24 hours.

Composite manufacturing methods The composites made using vacuum infusion process. The process started with the sealant tape is placed on a glass mould with dimension 300 x 300 mm leng th and width. After the s piral tube is fitted at resin feed lines then a releasing agent is sprayed evenly onto the surface of the mould. Four layers kenaf fibres were placed on the mould with different of two direction, i.e., 0 o and 90 o . Va cuum pump is used to vacuum out the air of the system after peel ply, distribution media and vacuum bag were placed. The

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monitoring and checking is necessary to ensure that no leakage before polyester resin infused into the system, Vacuum-infusion method u sed in this study offers more benefits than hand lay-up method due to the better of fibres to resin ratio resulting in stronger and lighter laminates. Figure 1 shows the vacuum infusion setup and process.

T ABLE I T HE CHEMICAL SOLUTION OF THE TREATMENT

Treatment

NaOH

(%)

Soaking

time, (hr)

Resin Infusion

KP-T1

6

12

KP-T2

9

12

Hand Lay-up

HL-T1

6

12

HL-T2

9

12

KP-T1 6 12 KP-T2 9 12 Hand Lay-up HL-T1 6 12 HL-T2 9 12 Fig. 1.

Fig. 1. The vacuum infusion configuration.

The long bast fibres were placed in aluminum mold evenly. Then a liquid thermosetting resin is mixed with

curing agent (hardener). A brush or roller is used to wrap

layering process of the fibres.

impregnated with the resin are used to build up the require thickness. Curing, i.e. waiting for the thermosetting polymer bond to form network normally at room temperature.

Layers of the fibres

network normally at room temperature. Layers of the fibres Fig. 2. Hand Lay -up Process Measurements

Fig. 2. Hand Lay -up Process

Measurements Tensile tests were performed using a testing machine model AG-I Shimadzu. The width and thickness of the specimens were measured and recorded. The tensile tests for tensile strength and tensile modulus is carried out accordance to ASTM D 638 01.

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Figure 3 and Figure 4, show the fracture samples of hand lay-up and vacuum infusion method for kenaf/polyester composite treated with 6 percent NaOH for 12 hours. It was observed that hand lay-up sample have no fibres pull out compared to vacuum infusion method. However, there are a

lot of void on the hand lay-up sample. For vacuum infusion process, samples appear woody due to adhesion form between fibres and matrix.

appear woody due to adhesion form between fibres and matrix. Fig. 3. Fracture specimens of kenaf/polyester

Fig. 3. Fracture specimens of kenaf/polyester composite frabicated by hand lay-up method.

kenaf/polyester composite frabicated by hand lay-up method. Fig. 4. Fracture specimens of kenaf/polyester composite

Fig. 4. Fracture specimens of kenaf/polyester composite fabricated by vacuum infusion process.

Figure 5 show a comparison of tensile strength of kenaf/polyester composite with different manufacturing method: vacuum infusion and hand lay -up. It was clearly observed that the samples fabricated by vacuum infusion has higher tensile strength than hand lay-up method. For untreated fibres composite, kenaf/polyester composite fabricated by hand lay-up (HL-UT) presented 45.52 MPa while vacuum infusion sample (KP-UT) was 69.12 MPa. For sample T3, sample HL-T3 also show the highest tensile strength among others sample fabricated by hand lay-up. The kenaf/polyester composite treated with 6 percent NaOH for 12 hours was the best tensile strength either vacuum infusion or hand lay-up method. However, the composite made by vacuum infusion show the stronger than hand lay-up method. Futhermore, the stiffnesss of the vacuum infusion samples also was higher than the hand lay - up method. In figure 6 shows that all vacuum infusion samples are higher Young’s Modulus compared to hand lay - up samples. The reason contributed to this phenomena is processing route.

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of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol:10 No:03 56 Fig. 5. Comparison of tensile strength of

Fig. 5. Comparison of tensile strength of kenaf/polyester composites between vacuum infusion and hand lay -up method.

composites between vacuum infusion and hand lay -up method. Fig. 6. Comparison of tensile modulus of

Fig. 6. Comparison of tensile modulus of kenaf/polyester composites between vacuum infusion and hand lay -up method.

For resin infusion, the samples show the better mechanical properties due to compression force applied are maintained for long amounts of time, until the resin cures completely. The resin infusion process in vacuum condition will pressurize the samples (approximately 1 bar) automatically when the gases inside the mold have been removed. Indirectly, the atmospheric pressure will reduce the voids or space inside the samples. Therefore, minimized of voids can improve greatly to the mechanical properties of samples. Compared to hand lay-up method, the process only uses an aluminum roller manually to work out the entrapped air inside the laminates of fibres and matrix. Though this way also can minimize the amount of voids , but it is an ineffective method due to the force or pressure applied was not simultaneous to the laminate. Besides, the force applied manually is insufficient to work out the entrapped air or voids inside the laminates. This is as reported by Belingardi et al. (2008), which point out that the resin infusion can achieve prepreg levels of resin usage and thus improving the fibres-to-resin ratio. Furthermore, as the process involves creating a vacuum, there is a little or no moisture conte nt when the resin sucked into the mold. Reducing the moisture content of the sample during the curing phase will contributed to better mechanical properties of composites as well. For hand lay-up method, the process was carried out in environment that exposed to the moistures and gaseous so it will be react or effect to the

composites during the curing process.

IV.

CONCLUSIONS

The different concentrations of NaOH solution for the processing of kenaf fibers are showing different results to the tensile properties of unsaturated kenaf / polyester composite. This alkalize treatments improve the tensile properties and performance when increasing the

concentration of sodium hydroxide. The kenaf/polyester fabricated composites by vacuum infusion process has the superior tensile strength compared to hand lay-up method, where tensile strength and Young’s modulus is higher than hand lay -up method. Also, the resin infusion process is better processing method for kenaf/polyester composites compared to hand lay -up method.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to thank Lembaga Tembakau Negara (National Tobacco Board), Malaysia for supplying the kenaf fibres. This study is supported by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia through UTeM project grant (FRGS/2007/FKP(2)F0023).

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