Injection Molded Hybrid Natural Fibre - Thermoplastic Composites for Automotive Interior Parts 2004-01-0014
Eco-efficient and cost effective natural fibre - thermoplastic composites have gained attention to a great extent in the automotive industry. Most of the OEM specifications for automotive interior parts, for example, instrument panels, recommend the composite should have a minimum flexural modulus of 1900 MPa, a notched Impact strength greater than 150 J/m at room temperature and a melt flow index of 5 g/10min and above [1, 2 and 3]. The objective of this work was to develop a high performance hybrid composite by injection molding process of the composites made from natural fibre in combination with glass fibre or calcium carbonate in a thermoplastic matrix to meet the specifications required for automotive interior parts applications. Mechanical properties, such as tensile and flexural strengths and moduli of the composites prepared, were found to be highly promising. The achieved values are even higher than that of the engineering plastics-based parts like polycarbonates and polycarbonate/ABS resins (i.e., tensile strength above 50 - 60 MPa and flexural modulus of 2300 MPa). The targeted values for flexural modulus and impact strength were achieved by using a combination of natural fibre and calcium carbonate filler. The use of this natural fibre composite is economically viable and at the same time it helps reducing the green house gas emission, as there is lesser amount of synthetic resins and plastics.