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Surface treatment of coir (Cocos nucifera) fibers and its influence on the fibers’ physico-mechanical properties
Published Date September 2007, Vol.67(11):2369–2376,doi:10.1016/j.compscitech.2007.01.009
M. Mizanur Rahman a,,,
Mubarak A. Khan b
aDepartment of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh
bNuclear Radiation and Polymer Chemistry Laboratory, Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, P.O. Box 3787, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh
Received 29 May 2006. Revised 21 December 2006. Accepted 19 January 2007. Available online 31 January 2007.
Coir, an important lignocellulosic fiber, can be incorporated in polymers like polyacrylate in different ways for achieving desired properties and texture. But its high level of moisture absorption, poor wettability and insufficient adhesion between untreated fiber and the polymer matrix lead to debonding with age. In order to improve the above qualities, adequate surface modification is required. In our present work, fiber surface modification by ethylene dimethylacrylate (EMA) and cured under UV radiation. Pretreatment with UV radiation and mercerization were done before grafting with a view to improve the physico-mechanical performance of coir fibers’. The effects of mercerization on shrinkage and fiber weight losses were monitored at different temperature and alkali concentration. We observed that, fiber shrinkage is higher at low temperature and 20% alkali treated coir fibers yielded maximum shrinkage and weight losses. It was found that higher shrinkage of the polymer grafted fiber showed enhanced physico-mechanical properties. The grafting of alkali treated fiber shows an increase of polymer loading (about 56% higher) and tensile strength (about 27%) than 50% EMA grafted fiber. The fiber surface topology and the tensile fracture surfaces were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and were found improved interfacial bonding to the modified fiber–matrix interface.