Top Border

Current Activities

back to previous page

Bottom Border

Polymer Composites with Natural Fiber Fillers

Incorporation of natural fiber fillers into plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene can reduce the overall usage of these petroleum-derived materials, thereby

  • Decreasing the release of sequestered carbon
  • Increasing the use of renewable, carbon-neutral materials, and
  • Reducing the environmental impact of non-biodegradable materials

In addition to environmental factors, natural fibers or "bio-fibers" have many advantages over traditional polymer fillers such as glass fiber. These include low cost, low energy consumption, non-abrasive nature, safety in handling, low density, potentially higher volume fraction, superior specific properties, etc. Bio-fibers such as hemp, jute, kenaf, sisal, and bamboo can potentially replace glass fiber to enforce polymeric resins. Disadvantages of natural fibers include low thermal stability, low resistance to moisture, seasonal quality variations, etc. These issues are being addressed in order to achieve commercially viable bio-fiber filled composites for automotive and other demanding engineering applications.

Natural fibers such as kenaf (above left) can be used in place of traditional glass fibers or other fillers. Polypropylene/40% kenaf composite injection-molded automotive component (above right).

© 2008 YTC America Inc.