A Novel Banana Fiber Reinforced Green Composite from Maleated Castor Oil and Linseed Oil
Keywords:green composites, renewable resources, vegetable oils, castor oil, linseed oil, banana fibers, value addition
In recent decades, the consumerist society has recognized the consequences of petrochemicals, hence the interest of scientists has been drawn toward renewable products obtained from biological sources. In this study a novel biocomposite with the use of the least chemicals was fabricated by crosslinking maleated castor oil (MACO) and linseed oil (LO) by free radical polymerization, using benzoyl peroxide (BPO) as the free radical initiator. The significance of this study is that the polymer matrix is derived entirely from vegetable oils with slight modifications. Banana fibers are one of the strongest natural fibers that may be taken from the banana pseudo-stem that is discarded after the fruit is harvested. To convert this post-harvest waste into a value-added product, NaOH-treated banana fibers were used as the reinforcement for the developed composite. The characterization of the fibers and the composites was carried out by performing Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), X-Ray diffraction analysis (XRD), Dynamic mechanical analysis, tensile and compressive stress analysis, Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Thermogravimetric (TG)/derivative thermogravimetric (DTG) and thermal conductivity analysis. Composites were also analyzed for their water absorptivity and chemical resistivity. The influence of varying banana fiber weights on the composite’s mechanical strength was investigated using a dual cantilever flexural test. It revealed that the composite’s strength increased with increasing fiber content until 50% (w/w) and then dropped as the fiber content increased further. The maximum tensile strength of the optimum composite was 16.92 ± 4.70 Megapascal (MPa) and the composite was resistant against a compressive force of 4,500 kN without any fractures. The composites’ water absorptivity and chemical resistivity tests revealed that increasing the fiber content enhanced the composites'swelling. The composite was acidic and saline water resistant, but not alkaline solution resistant. Additionally, the thermal conductivity measurements of the composite showed that the composite is a thermal insulator. The composite with 50% (w/w) fiber load, 20% (w/w) BPO, 10% (w/w), LO and 20% (w/w) MACO exhibited the best overall performances.