Flexural properties of wheat straw reinforced polyester composites
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A study on the flexural properties of wheat straw reinforced polyester composites is presented in this paper. The wheat straw/polyester composites were made as per the hand layup procedure and the instructions provided by the manufacturers. These specimens were then tested in the three point bend configuration in accordance with ASTM D790-07 at a span to depth ratio of 16. Four weight fractions of wheat straw 2%, 4%, 6% and 8% were chosen to be studied. The process-induced voids were studied and it is shown that voids play an important role in flexural properties. When voids exist, flexural modulus was calculated using a micromechanical model. It is shown from both the experimental results and calculation that flexural modulus decreases with the addition of wheat straw, and this reduction in flexural modulus is due to process-induced voids. Flexural strength of polyester resins does not increase with the addition of wheat straw as reinforcement. This is due to poor interfacial adhesion and the existence of voids. In order to achieve reinforcement, treatment of straw fibers and better processing techniques to reduce voids are needed.
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