Mechanical and thermal behavior of natural fiber-polymer composites without compatibilizers

Veikko Sajaniemi, Alp Karakoc*, Jouni Paltakari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The present study aims at understanding the mechanical and thermal properties of natural fibers in a polymer matrix without strong adhesionbetween the two constitutes. For this purpose, four types of pulps, which arerefined and unrefined pine and birch kraft pulps,were used together with polypropylene without any compatibilizer. One constituent pulpbasedand composite pulp fiber-polypropylene handsheets were prepared by standard laboratory sheet preparation method followed by hot pressing process. In addition to these handsheets, pure polypropylene sheets were also formed as the reference. The produced handsheets were testedtodetermine their tensile properties following the ISO 1924-2 standard for paper and board. During these tests, infrared thermal imaging was also carried out with FLIR A655SC thermal camera with frame rate of 200 Hz and thermal resolution of 50 mK so as to investigate the thermal behavior. As a result of the experiments, it was deducedthat the chosen methods produced composites with unsatisfactory properties. In addition, microstructures of the investigated handsheets were analyzed with scanning electronmicroscopy (SEM)indicating theheterogeneous mixing of constituents and existence of material defects, whichwas mainly due to the inherent incompatibility of hydrophilic natural fibers and hydrophobic thermoplastics. The study aims at pavinga way for improved naturalfiber-polymer composite manufacturing methods, a requirement for better understanding the natural fiberand polymer matrix bonding practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalResearch on Engineering Structures and Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • pulp
  • polypropylene
  • compatibilizer
  • natural fiber polymer composite


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