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Technical Paper

Effect of Fungal Modification on Fiber-Matrix Adhesion in Natural Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites

Natural fiber reinforced polymer composites are beginning to find their way into the commercial automotive market. But, inadequate adhesion between hydrophilic natural fibers and hydrophobic matrix materials affects the performance of the resulting composites. In this study the effect of an environmental friendly fungal treatment on the adhesion characteristics of natural fibers is investigated. Firstly, changes in acid-base characteristics of the modified hemp fibers were studied using Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC). Afterwards, composites were prepared using Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process and the effect of modification on performance and durability of the composites was investigated.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Fiber Surface Treatment on the Performance of Hemp Fiber/Acrylic Composites for Automotive Structural Parts

The use of natural fibers for polymer composite materials has increased tremendously in the last few years. This type of reinforcements offers many advantages such as low density, low cost, high specific strength and low environmental impacts. The performance of the natural fiber composites are affected by the fiber loading, the individual mechanical properties of each component (fiber and matrix), and the fiber and matrix adhesion. Concerning the interfacial interaction, natural fibers present a major drawback because of poor compatibility of fibers with most hydrophobic thermoplastic and thermoset matrix. Hemp fiber/acrylic composites were manufactured with sheet molding technique recently. Although mechanical tests give promising results, they exhibit low tensile strength resulting from a poor fiber/matrix adhesion. The moisture resistance property of the sheet molded composites also needs further improvement.
Technical Paper

Wood Microfibres - Effective Reinforcing Agents for Composites

This work is based on a process to develop novel cellulose microfibre reinforced composite materials, and to understand fundamental mechanical properties of these composites. Cellulose microfibres having diameters <1 μm were generated from bleached kraft pulp by a combination of high shear refining and subsequent cryocrushing under liquid nitrogen, followed by filtration through a 60 mesh screen. Through film casting in polyvinyl alcohol, theoretical stiffness of the microfibres was calculated as 69 GPa. Subsequently, these microfibres were successfully dispersed in the bioplastics thermoplastic starch and polylactic acid (PLA), using conventional processing equipments. The high aspect ratio of these microfibres coupled with their high tensile properties imparted superior mechanical strength and stiffness to the composites. These indicated that by suitably choosing the polymer, excellent reinforcement can be achieved for high end applications like automotive parts.
Technical Paper

Effect of CO2 Content on Foaming Behavior of Recyclable High-Melt-Strength PP

This paper presents an experimental study on the foaming behavior of recyclable high-melt-strength (HMS) branched polypropylene (PP) with CO2 as a blowing agent. The foamability of branched HMS PP has been evaluated using a tandem foaming extruder system. The effects of CO2 and nucleating agent contents on the final foam morphology have been thoroughly investigated. The low density (i.e., 12~14 fold), fine-celled (i.e., 107–109 cells/cm3) PP foams were successfully produced using a small amount of talc (i.e., 0.8 wt%) and 5 wt% CO2.
Technical Paper

Microcellular Ceramic Foams: Manufacturing and Study of Acoustical Properties

A novel processing method for fabricating high porosity microcellular ceramic foams for sound absorption applications has been developed. The strategy for fabricating the ceramic foams involves: (i) forming some shapes using a mixture of preceramic polymer and expandable microspheres by a conventional ceramic forming method, (ii) foaming the compact by heating, (iii) cross-linking the foamed body, and (iv) transforming the foamed body into ceramic foams by pyrolysis. By controlling the microsphere content and that of the base elastomer, it was possible to adjust the porosity with a very high open-cell content (ranging between 43 - 95%), high microcellular cell densities (9 × 108 - 1.6 × 109 cells/cm3) and desired expansion ratios (3 - 6 folds). Sound absorption testing has been performed using ASTM C-384 standard test. The preliminary results show that ceramic foams are candidate sound absorption materials.
Technical Paper

Eutectic Segregation and Cracking in AZ91 Friction Stir Spot Welds

Friction stir spot welding of Mg-alloy AZ91 is investigated. The temperature cycles within the stir zone and in the TMAZ region are examined using thermocouples, which are located within the tool itself and also by locating thermocouples in drilled holes at specific locations relative to the bottom of the tool shoulder and the periphery of the rotating pin. The measured temperatures in the stir zone range from 437°C to 460°C (0.98Ts, where Ts is the solidus temperature in degrees Kelvin) in AZ91 spot welds produced using plunge rates from 2.5 and 25 mm/s. The thermal cycle within the stir zone formed during AZ91 spot welding could not be measured by locating thermocouples within the workpiece in drilled holes adjacent to the periphery of the rotating pin.
Technical Paper

Energy Generation and Stir Zone Dimensions in Friction Stir Spot Welds

Energy generation and utilization during friction stir spot welding of Al 6061-T6 and AM50 sheet materials are investigated. The dimensions of the stir zones during plunge testing are largely unchanged when the tool rotational speed increases from 1500 RPM to 3000 RPM (for a plunge rate of 1 mm/s) and when the rate of tool penetration increases from 1 mm/s to 10 mm/s (for a tool rotational speed of 3000 RPM). The energy resulting from tool rotation is also unaffected when higher tool rotational speeds are applied. The rotating pin accounts for around 70% and 66% of the energy generated when 6.3 mm thick Al 6061-T6 and AM50 sheet materials are spot welded without the application of a dwell period. In direct contrast, the contribution made by the tool shoulder increases to around 48% (Al 6061-T6) and to 65% (AM50) when a four second long dwell period is incorporated during spot welding of 6.3 mm thick sheets.
Journal Article

Selection of Welding Parameter during Friction Stir Spot Welding

The selection of parameters during friction stir spot welding of Al-alloys and Mg-alloys is discussed. The role of tool rotation speed, plunge rate, and dwell time is examined in relation to the tool heating rate,temperature, force, and torque that occur during spot welding. In order to reduce the cycle time and tool force during Al- alloy spot welding, it is necessary to increase the tool rotation speed >1500 RPM. The measured peak temperature in the stir zone is determined by the rotation speed and dwell time, and is ultimately limited by the solidus of the alloy. When tool rotation speeds >1500 RPM are employed during AZ91 Mg-alloy spot welding, the tendency for melted film formation and cracking are greatly increased.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Surface Modification on the Mechanical Properties of Hemp Fiber/Polyester Composites

In this work hemp fibers were chemically treated in order to improve the fiber/matrix interaction in hemp fiber/unsaturated polyester composites prepared by a Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process. Chemicals used for paper sizing (AKD, ASA, Rosin Acid and SMA) as well as a silane compound and sodium hydroxide were used to modify the fibers' surface. The tensile, flexural and impact properties of the resulting materials were measured. A slight improvement in mechanical properties was observed for the SMA, silane and alkali treated specimens. However close analysis of these tests and of the fracture surface of the samples showed that there was no amelioration of the fiber/matrix adhesion. It was found that predicted tensile strengths using the rule of mixture were very close to the experimental values obtained in this work. Finally the properties of an hybrid glass fiber/hemp fiber composite were found to be very promising
Technical Paper

The Effects of Nano-clay on Extrusion Microcellular Foaming of Nylon

This paper demonstrates the effects of nano-clay on the microcellular foam processing of nylon. First, Nylon 6 nanocomposites with 1 wt% clay were prepared by a twin screw extruder. The nanocomposite structures were characterized by XRD and TEM. Nylon and its nanocomposites were foamed in extrusion using CO2. The cell morphologies of nylon and its nanocomposite foams were investigated. It appeared that the nano-clay not only enhanced cell nucleation, but also suppressed cell deterioration in the microcellular foaming of nylon.
Technical Paper

Injection Molded Hybrid Natural Fibre - Thermoplastic Composites for Automotive Interior Parts

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.
Technical Paper

Gas-Liquid and Flow Rate Distributions in Single End Tank Evaporator Plates

Adiabatic two-phase flow experiments have been carried out in an evaporator plate assembly which has entry and exit header vestibules on one side and a U pattern flow passage with round or cross ribbed protuberance in the channel. Over the practical flow range in common installation orientations, non-uniform distributions were found in both surface wetting on the internal walls of a single channel and the flow rates in a number of parallel channels. The poor performances of the plate surface wetting in single channel and the flow distribution in the multiple channels would severely limit the heat transfer capability of the current designs.
Journal Article

PSO-Based Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of Automotive Assemblies

Widely used in automotive industry, lightweight metallic structures are a key contributor to fuel efficiency and reduced emissions of vehicles. Lightweight structures are traditionally designed through employing the material distribution techniques sequentially. This approach often leads to non-optimal designs due to constricting the design space in each step of the design procedure. The current study presents a novel Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) framework developed to address this issue. Topology, topography, and gauge optimization techniques are employed in the development of design modules and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm is linked to the MDO framework to ensure efficient searching in large design spaces often encountered in automotive applications. The developed framework is then further tailored to the design of an automotive Cross-Car Beam (CCB) assembly.