Mechanical Properties and Water Absorption of Hemp Fibers–Reinforced Unsaturated Polyester Composites: Effect of Fiber Surface Treatment with a Heterofunctional Monomer

Tingting Chen, Wendi Liu, Renhui Qiu


Hemp fibers–reinforced unsaturated polyester (UP) composites were prepared by hand lay-out compression molding. Hemp fibers were treated with isocyanatoethyl methacrylate (IEM), using dibutyltin dilaurate as a catalyst. The results indicated that fiber treatment significantly increased tensile strength, flexural strength, flexural modulus, and water resistance of the resulting composites, and yet decreased the impact strength of the composites. The water absorption characteristics for composite samples immersed in water at room temperature followed Fickian behaviour, but for those evaluated at temperature 100 °C, there was a deviation from Fickian behaviour. Scanning electron microscope graphs of the tensile-fractured surface of hemp–UP composites revealed that fiber treatment with IEM greatly improved the interfacial adhesion between hemp fibers and UP resins. Fourier transform infrared analysis of the treated fibers showed that some IEM was covalently bonded onto hemp fibers.


Hemp fibers; Unsaturated polyester; Composites; Fiber/matrix bond; Surface treatments; Mechanical properties; Water absorption

Full Text: PDF

Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126