Natural Fiber Reinforced Unsaturated Polyester Composites - An Approach On Compression Molding 2001-01-3942
This work has been performed at Tapetes Sao Carlos-Brazil with the cooperation of the DaimlerChrysler Research Center Team in Ulm - Germany. The objective of the present paper is to report the results obtained with natural fiber reinforced unsaturated polyester (UP) composites, concerning surface quality measurements. The fibers that have been chosen for this work were sisal and curaua. The samples were produced by compression molding technique and afterwards submitted to three different tests, namely: a) thermal aging; b) water absorption and c) artificial weathering. The surface parameters measured before and after the tests were gloss, haze, short and long-waviness. The results have shown that after the tests there is a high loss of gloss, a high increase in haze, and a high increase in short and long-waviness as well. Curaua reinforced composites had a slightly better behavior when compared with sisal reinforced composites. The effect of the presence of filler and the addition of thermoplastic polyester (TP) on the material behavior has not been evidently detected. This result shows that the conventional technology/methods applied to UP-Fiberglass systems cannot be transferred to natural fibers without any modification. The fiber-matrix interaction and its response to the presence of additives must be fully understood before a successful processing route can be developed for painted natural fibers reinforced UP.