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Properties of Plant Fiber Composites

Brazilian researchers are looking for sustainable alternatives for construction materials. Here you will find some of the properties of plant fiber composites with potential for use in the civil construction.

Pineapple plants

The use of plant fibers as reinforcement in building materials allows for sustainable construction works. Thus, the knowledge on the properties of plant fiber composites is of utmost importance. Furthermore, their fiber/matrix interface play a key role when it comes to certain applications. Good adhesion between the fiber and the matrix, in addition to using hydrophilic fibers, are desirable features that can be achieved by modifying the surface of the fibers.

Mechanical, Acoustic and Thermal Properties

Mechanical, acoustic, and thermal properties requirements for composites will change according to their application. Bruno Rosa, under the guidance of Professors Newton Dias Filho and Fernando Barbosa Montanare from the Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), have studied the mechanical and thermal properties of buriti fiber (8) (whose palm is found in several regions of Brazil). Due to buriti fiber’s high mechanical strength and low production cost, it can be used as a replacement for fiberglass in civil construction and auto industry.

Acoustic absorption of panels reinforced with banana pseudostem fibers was studied by Carlos Alberto Demarchi in his master’s thesis, which was advised by professor Gioson Morales (Londrina State University – UEL) (4). These properties have also been studied for other types of fibers, such as those of eucalyptus (2) (study by Correia, Santos and Savastano), coconut (3) (study by Paulo Cunha advised by professors Uilame Umbelino Gomes and Rasiah Ladchumananandasivam), sisal (5) (Indara Izquierdo, under the guidance of Professor Marcio Antonio Ramalho), etc.

Surface Modification of Different Plant Fibers

Gustavo Tonoli (Federal University of Lavras - UFLA) under the guidance of Francisco Antonio Rocco Lahr (University of Sao Paulo - USP) modified the surface of eucalyptus fibers to be used in fiber-cements for the work of his PhD thesis (9, 10).

Cleidiene S. Miranda , Ricardo F. Carvalho and Nadia M. José from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and Raigenis P. Fiuza from the Federal Institute of Bahia (IFBA) focused on how four different treatments applied to the surface of piassava fiber waste–from the brooms industry–affected the properties of the fibers (7).

The researchers Juliana S. Marcon, Daniella R. Mulinari, Maria Odila H. Cioffi, and Herman J. C. Voorwald (Sao Paulo State University - UNESP) analyzed the effect of surface modification of pineapple crown fibers aiming at their use as an enforcement in a polymeric matrix (6).

Other studies as the one from the research group of professor Julio Cesar Moreira (University of Paraiba Valley - UNIVAP), have focused on the study of the mechanical properties of treated banana pseudostem fiber for making gypsum composites to be used in civil construction (1).

View accompanying articles on sustainability in civil engineering and eco-friendly construction materials!


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