Performance of Injection Molded Natural Fiber - Hybrid Thermoplastic Composites for Automotive Structural Applications 2006-01-0004
Use of natural fiber and / or hybrid thermoplastic composites in the automotive industry can provide the advantages of weight reduction, cost reduction and recyclability, in addition to eco-efficiency and renewability compared to synthetic conventional materials. Besides the mechanical performance of the composites, thermal properties, durability, and recyclability of the natural fiber or hybrid composites are also to be investigated to demonstrate their potential candidacy as structural members in automotive applications. The main objective of this research work was to evaluate thermal properties, creep properties, and recyclability of the natural fiber and natural fiber hybrid composites in comparison with 30-40wt% long glass fiber filled thermoplastic composites. Composites were prepared by melt blending the thermoplastic, fiber and compatibilizer followed by granulation and injection molding of the compound into test specimens. Mechanical properties, heat deflection temperature, and creep properties of the composites indicated that natural fiber/glass fiber hybrid composites exhibited improved properties. Bending stiffness of hybrid composites was comparable to that of glass fiber composites. Recycling ability of natural and hybrid composites was found to be better than glass fiber composites.