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Wheat gluten composites reinforced with coconut fiber
Published Date July 2012, Vol.43(7):1160–1168,doi:10.1016/j.compositesa.2012.02.011
Sudsiri Hemsri a
Kasia Grieco a
Alexandru D. Asandei b,c
Richard S. Parnas a,b,,
aDepartment of Chemical, Materials and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut, 191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3222, Storrs, CT 06269-3222, USA
bInstitute of Materials Science, University of Connecticut, 97 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3136, USA
cDepartment of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, 55 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3060, Storrs, CT 06269-3060, USA
Received 5 December 2011. Revised 19 February 2012. Accepted 20 February 2012. Available online 28 February 2012.
Coconut fiber-reinforced wheat gluten (WG) biocomposites were fabricated. The coconut fibers (CCFs) were chemically modified by either sodium hydroxide or silane treatment, as well as following the alkali surface treatment with a silane treatment. (3-triethoxysilylpropyl)-t-butylcarbamate (carbamate silane), which is a masked isocyanate functional silane, was used for the first time to improve interfacial adhesion between WG and natural fibers. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) analyses were employed to prove the presence of the silane on silane-treated coconut fiber (SCCF) and alkali-followed by silane-treated fiber (ASCCF). It was found that ASCCF has more silane content on the fiber surface than SCCF. The mechanical properties of composites with 15 mass% fiber loading were assessed by three-point bending tests. Moreover, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to investigate fracture surface characteristics of composites. The WG/ASCCF composite provided an 80% increase in strength, and showed superior fiber–matrix interfacial adhesion.