Preparation and Characterization of Banana Fiber –high density polyethylene (hdpe) composite.

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AUGUST, 2015
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The use of plant fiber as a reinforcing agent is a current development in polymer science to produce composite material that have higher strength and lower weight for several applications. In this research, banana fiber, which is a natural fiber has been employed as a reinforcing agent. Composites were fabricated using both treated banana, TBF and untreated banana fiber, UBF and HDPE with fiber content of 5, 7.5, 10 and 12.5% by injection moulding technique. Physico-mechanical properties such as tensile strength, impact strength, elongation at break point and young’s moduli of the various types of composites were analysed. From the research, it was found out that, values have increased to a certain percentage and started decreasing gradually. The addition of 10 % TBF provided an enhancement in mechanical properties of composites in comparison with virgin HDPE. Young’s moduli and water absorption of composites increased with increasing fiber addition. Also, weight of composites reduced with increasing fiber content. Mechanical properties of treated banana fiber TBF-HDPE composites were a little higher than untreated banana fiber UBF-HDPE composites. The FTIR analysis of the banana fiber for both TBF and UBF showed absorption peaks at 1633 cm-1, 1244 cm-1 and 1016 cm-1 suggesting the presence of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin present in the banana fiber whereas peaks at 1367 cm-1 and 1029 cm-1 in the prepared composite, suggested a physical interaction between the HDPE and the banana fiber. Micrographical analysis of composites showed that TBF-HDPE composites had a better adhesion within the HDPE matrix as compared to UBF. It was also seen that chemical treatment of banana fiber with NaOH, increased the interfacial bond between the banana fiber and HDPE matrix, thus improving mechanical properties of TBF-HDPE composites and decreasing the absorption of fiber.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of MPhil in Polymer Science and Technology degree,.