Effect of hemp fibre length on the properties of polypropylene composites
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Hemp fibre (HF) is a natural fibre that has gained increased application in interior material for automobile industries (Sanjay, et al., 2016). However, good interfacial bonding between fibre/matrix is necessary to enhance the mechanical properties of the composite (Pickering, et al., 2007). This study focuses on the effect of fibre length, alkali and silane treatments on the mechanical and physical properties of hemp fibre reinforced polypropylene composites. Compression moulding technique was used to produce the composite, fibre lengths of 50, 100 and 150 mm were selected and combined with polypropylene powder at a fibre/PP ratio of 60/40%, a pressure of 1.67 MPa and temperature between 160–200 °C. The results obtained show that longer fibres enhanced mechanical strength. The tensile test result, for instance, shows a 21% increase in flexural strength at 150 mm compared to the fibre length of 50 mm. The modification resulted in a 46% decrease in strength, especially for 150 mm long fibres. This may have been as a result of fibre damage, inadequate modification, less quality fibre or higher initial moisture content in the modified fibres as observed from FTIR spectroscopy. Further investigation of these factors is required to be able to conclusively determine if they may have affected the mechanical performance (Alao, 2018).