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Coconut Fibers Reinforced Polypropylene Composite: Investigation of Production Parameters using Compression Molding

Truong Chi Thanh, Nguyen Minh Tri, Cao Luu Ngoc Hanh, Truong Lam Quynh Nhu, Aart Willem Van Vuure, Ignaas Ve

Abstract


The abundant coconut fibers in Mekong Delta – Vietnam were used as reinforcement for composite to improve the economic value of coconut trees and the income of farmers who earn their living with this type of plant. Moreover, the development of the coconut fibers reinforced composite also aims to protect the environment. This paper present the technology for extraction of non-oriented coconut fibers from their husks by machine aiming to obtain quality fibers with high recovery rate. The fibers then were used to produce polypropylene composite utilizing conventional compression molding. To optimize the mechanical properties of the resulting composite, the process parameters of compression molding including temperature, holding time and pressure were investigated. It was suggested that at fiber volume fraction of 45%, compression molding with temperature of 180 0C, pressure in the mold cavity of 90 kg/cm2 (equivalent to pressure in the cylinder of the press 110kg/cm2) held in 4 minutes provides a polypropylene composite reinforced with random coconut fibers with good mechanical performance.

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