Influence of Kenaf Core Fiber Incorporation on the Mechanical Performance and Dimensional Stability of Oil Palm Fiber Reinforced Poly(lactic acid) Hybrid Biocomposites

Abubakar Umar Birnin-Yauri, Nor Azowa Ibrahim, Norhazlin Zainuddin, Khalina Abdan, Yoon Yee Then, Buong Woei Chieng

Abstract


This study demonstrated the reinforcing potential of kenaf core fiber (KCF) to complement and sustain oil palm fiber supply chain in the production of natural fiber-thermoplastic biocomposites. The lignin-rich KCF was incorporated into cellulose-rich oil palm empty fruit bunch fiber (EFBF)- and oil palm mesocarp fiber (OPMF)-poly(lactic acid) (PLA) composites, aimed at achieving synergism. The hybrid biocomposites developed by melt blending and subsequent compression molding were characterized for possible application as an alternative to medium-density fiberboards. The mechanical properties and dimensional stability of both single fiber- and hybrid fiber-PLA biocomposites were evaluated and compared. The test results showed a synergistic improvement as a consequence of fiber hybridization. Also, the findings suggested the best material performance with the incorporation of 5% KCF into 55% EFBF or OPMF and 40% PLA matrix. The OPMF-KCF-PLA hybrid biocomposites gave better results than the EFBF-KCF-PLA hybrid biocomposites.

Keywords


Hybrid biocomposite; Oil palm empty fruit bunch fiber; Oil palm mesocarp fiber; Kenaf core fiber; Poly(lactic acid)

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