Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications

A special issue of Fibers (ISSN 2079-6439).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 77835

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Biorefining and Advanced Materials Research Centre, SRUC, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
2. Enhanced Composites and Structures Center, School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
Interests: biorefining, chemistry, nanotechnology, biomass, and waste; biomedical engineering; composites; sensors; manufacturing of functional materials; aerospace materials; nanomaterials; renewable energy; smart materials; surface engineering; water science and engineering; additive manufacturing of polymers and composites; multifunctional polymer composites and nanocomposites: self-healing, nanoelectronic materials; hydrogels; membranes; nanofibre; composites for extreme environments and manufacturing technology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global awareness of environmental issues has resulted in the emergence of economically and environmentally friendly materials free from the traditional side effects of synthetics, by using biorenewable materials. In this direction, natural fibers from different biorenewable resources have attracted considerable attraction from the research community from all around the globe, owing to their unique intrinsic properties, such as their biodegradability, easy availability, environmental friendliness, flexibility, easy processing, and impressive physico-mechanical properties. Natural cellulose fiber-based materials are finding their applications in a number of fields, ranging from automotive to biomedical. Natural fibers have been frequently used as the reinforcement in polymers in order to add the specific properties in the final product.

This Special Issue is devoted to the advancements made in the field of natural fibers and composites, including the processing methods and potential applications of green composites.

Dr. Vijay Kumar Thakur
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fibers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Bioresources
  • Cellulose macromolecules
  • Natural fibers
  • Surface modification
  • Polymers
  • Composites
  • Mechanical properties
  • Semi-structural/structural applications
  • Processing
  • Green materials
  • Biocomposites
  • Materials performance

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 4870 KiB  
Article
Synthesis of Curcumin Loaded Smart pH-Responsive Stealth Liposome as a Novel Nanocarrier for Cancer Treatment
by Ali Zarrabi, Atefeh Zarepour, Arezoo Khosravi, Zahra Alimohammadi and Vijay Kumar Thakur
Fibers 2021, 9(3), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib9030019 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3668
Abstract
The innovation of drug delivery vehicles with controlled properties for cancer therapy is the aim of most pharmaceutical research. This study aims to fabricate a new type of smart biocompatible stealth-nanoliposome to deliver curcumin for cancer treatment. Herein, four different types of liposomes [...] Read more.
The innovation of drug delivery vehicles with controlled properties for cancer therapy is the aim of most pharmaceutical research. This study aims to fabricate a new type of smart biocompatible stealth-nanoliposome to deliver curcumin for cancer treatment. Herein, four different types of liposomes (with/without pH-responsive polymeric coating) were synthesized via the Mozafari method and then characterized with several tests, including dynamic light scattering (DLS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Zeta potential, and field emission scanning electron microscopes (FE-S EM). The loading and release profile of curcumin were evaluated in two pH of 7.4 and 6.6. Finally, the MTT assay was used to assess the cytotoxicity of the samples. FE-SEM results revealed a mean size of about 40 and 50 nm for smart stealth-liposome and liposome, respectively. The results of drug entrapment revealed that non-coated liposome had about 74% entrapment efficiency, while it was about 84% for PEGylated liposomes. Furthermore, the drug released pattern of the nanocarriers showed more controllable release in stealth-liposome in comparison to non-coated one. The results of the cytotoxicity test demonstrated the toxicity of drug-loaded carriers on cancer cells. Based on the results of this study, the as-prepared smart stealth pH-responsive nanoliposome could be considered as a potential candidate for cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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16 pages, 2235 KiB  
Article
Identification of the Physical and Mechanical Properties of Moroccan Sisal Yarns Used as Reinforcements for Composite Materials
by Zineb Samouh, Omar Cherkaoui, Damien Soulat, Ahmad Rashed Labanieh, François Boussu and Reddad El moznine
Fibers 2021, 9(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib9020013 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3228
Abstract
This work aims to investigate the physical and mechanical properties of sisal fiber and yarn of Moroccan origin. The cellulosic and non-cellulosic constituents of the Moroccan sisal fiber were identified by FTIR spectroscopy. The thermal properties were studied by thermogravimetric analysis. The hydrophilicity [...] Read more.
This work aims to investigate the physical and mechanical properties of sisal fiber and yarn of Moroccan origin. The cellulosic and non-cellulosic constituents of the Moroccan sisal fiber were identified by FTIR spectroscopy. The thermal properties were studied by thermogravimetric analysis. The hydrophilicity of the fiber was evaluated by the contact angle. The results show that the sisal fiber has a low thermal stability. The mechanical properties of the fiber analyzed by the Impregnated Fiber Bundle Test (IFBT) method show that the porosity of the impregnated yarns and the twist angle of the yarns influence the elastic modulus of the sisal fiber. The physical and mechanical properties of the manufactured sisal yarns were also characterized and analyzed. The obtained results reveal an interesting potential to use the Moroccan sisal fiber in development of bio-sourced composite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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14 pages, 5261 KiB  
Article
Direct Comparison of the Structural Compression Characteristics of Natural and Synthetic Fiber-Epoxy Composites: Flax, Jute, Hemp, Glass and Carbon Fibers
by Mike R. Bambach
Fibers 2020, 8(10), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib8100062 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 5850
Abstract
Recent decades have seen substantial interest in the use of natural fibers in continuous fiber reinforced composites, such as flax, jute and hemp. Considering potential applications, it is of particular interest how natural fiber composites compare to synthetic fiber composites, such as glass [...] Read more.
Recent decades have seen substantial interest in the use of natural fibers in continuous fiber reinforced composites, such as flax, jute and hemp. Considering potential applications, it is of particular interest how natural fiber composites compare to synthetic fiber composites, such as glass and carbon, and if natural fibers can replace synthetic fibers in existing applications. Many studies have made direct comparisons between natural and synthetic fiber composites via material coupon testing; however, few studies have made such direct comparisons of full structural members. This study presents compression tests of geometrically identical structural channel sections fabricated from fiber-epoxy composites of flax, jute, hemp, glass and carbon. Glass fiber composites demonstrated superior tension material coupon properties to natural fiber composites. However, for the same fiber mass, structural compression properties of natural fiber composite channels were generally equivalent to, or in some cases superior to, glass fiber composite channels. This indicates there is substantial potential for natural fibers to replace glass fibers in structural compression members. Carbon fiber composites were far superior to all other composites, indicating little potential for replacement with natural fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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12 pages, 3605 KiB  
Article
Development of Interlocking Concrete Blocks with Added Sugarcane Residues
by Bruno Ribeiro, Tadaaki Uchiyama, Jun Tomiyama, Takashi Yamamoto and Yosuke Yamashiki
Fibers 2020, 8(10), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib8100061 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 5349
Abstract
The use of sugarcane residues in mortar and concrete is believed to contribute to a reduction of costs and environmental problems, such as the reduction of mining of natural aggregates and incorrect disposal of the sugarcane residues. Bagasse fiber has a high water [...] Read more.
The use of sugarcane residues in mortar and concrete is believed to contribute to a reduction of costs and environmental problems, such as the reduction of mining of natural aggregates and incorrect disposal of the sugarcane residues. Bagasse fiber has a high water retention rate and thus may be considered as a countermeasure for urban heat islands. Because of these properties, bagasse fiber and bagasse sand were added into the preparation of the interlocking concrete blocks. An investigation of the flexural strength and the contribution of the sugarcane residues against an urban heat island was made. The results showed that, by adding 2.0% of bagasse fiber and 5.0% of bagasse sand in concrete, the flexural strength and the water retention content increased in comparison to the control composite. Moreover, the surface temperature and the water evaporation rate of the blocks were smaller in comparison to the control composite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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11 pages, 4109 KiB  
Article
Influence of Gamma Radiation on Mechanical Properties of Jute Fabric-Reinforced Polymer Composites
by K.Z.M. Abdul Motaleb, Rimvydas Milašius and Abdul Ahad
Fibers 2020, 8(9), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib8090058 - 13 Sep 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4319
Abstract
Woven jute fabric was used as a reinforcing material for making two types of composite, named Jute/PR and Jute/Epoxy, with two different matrixes of polyester resin and epoxy, respectively, by hand layup techniques. Five different doses of gamma radiation from 100 to 500 [...] Read more.
Woven jute fabric was used as a reinforcing material for making two types of composite, named Jute/PR and Jute/Epoxy, with two different matrixes of polyester resin and epoxy, respectively, by hand layup techniques. Five different doses of gamma radiation from 100 to 500 krad were used to investigate the effects of the mechanical properties of the composites and the jute fabrics. Though gamma radiation improved the mechanical properties, such as the tensile strength (TS) and Young’s modulus (Y), and decreased the elongation at break % (Eb%) of the composites, it deteriorated all these properties for jute fabrics. The highest values of TS and Y and the lowest value of Eb% were found to be 39.44 Mpa, 1218.33 Mpa, and 7.68% for the Jute/PR; and 48.83 Mpa, 1459.67 Mpa, and 3.68% for the Jute/Epoxy composites, respectively, at a 300 krad gamma radiation dose. A further increase in dose altered all these properties; thus, 300 krad was found to be the optimum dose for both of the composites. Between the two composites, gamma radiation influenced the Jute/PR composite more than the Jute/Epoxy composite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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15 pages, 2295 KiB  
Article
Accelerated Thermal Aging of Bio-Based Composite Wood Panels
by Brent Tisserat, Nicholas Montesdeoca and Veera M. Boddu
Fibers 2020, 8(5), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib8050032 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3788
Abstract
Bio-based adhesives and resins are sought as alternatives to synthetics in order to fabricate all-biobased composite wood panels (CWPs), which provide environmentally friendly building products for indoor use. Very little information exists as to how these bio-based CWPs would perform long-term in non-temperature [...] Read more.
Bio-based adhesives and resins are sought as alternatives to synthetics in order to fabricate all-biobased composite wood panels (CWPs), which provide environmentally friendly building products for indoor use. Very little information exists as to how these bio-based CWPs would perform long-term in non-temperature controlled structures such as warehouses and storage units where extreme temperatures occur depending on the season. In this study, novel all-bio-based CWPs were fabricated using a matrix of 50% distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and 50% soybean flour ProsanteTM (PRO) mixed with wood particles. Bio-based CWPs were subjected to accelerated thermal aging for a 10-year period resembling outdoor temperatures in Peoria, IL USA. Four seasonal periods (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) were simulated varying from −26–40 °C and 36–76% relative humidity (RH). The bio-based adhesive employed consisted of 50% distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and 50% soybean flour ProsanteTM (PRO). CWPs consisted of 15 or 50% DDGS/PRO with 85% or 50% pine wood. CWPs were evaluated for 5, 7.5, and 10-years for their physical, flexural, dimensional stability, surface roughness, FTIR, TGA, and spectral properties. The changes in the CWP properties were notable during the initial 5 years, and later aged samples showed less change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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13 pages, 6648 KiB  
Article
Thermal Properties of Sago Fiber-Epoxy Composite
by Widayani Sutrisno, Mitra Rahayu and Damar Rastri Adhika
Fibers 2020, 8(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib8010004 - 28 Dec 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5220
Abstract
The aim of this study is to analyze the thermal properties of sago fiber-epoxy composite. The sago fiber-based composite has been prepared using epoxy resin as the matrix, via a simple mixing followed by compression. The compression process includes hot compression (100 °C/10 [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to analyze the thermal properties of sago fiber-epoxy composite. The sago fiber-based composite has been prepared using epoxy resin as the matrix, via a simple mixing followed by compression. The compression process includes hot compression (100 °C/10 kgf cm−2) and cold compression (ambient/10 kgf cm−2). The composite series was prepared with 9%, 13%, 17%, 20%, and 23% (w/w) of epoxy resin. Microstructures of all materials used were observed using an SEM (scanning electron microscope) instrument. The thermal properties of the composite and its components were examined through TG/DTA characterization. The samples were heated using the heating rate of 10 °C/min from room temperature to 400 °C, except for epoxy resin, which was heated to 530 °C. TG/DTA results depict three stages of thermal processes of sago fiber-epoxy composite: evaporation of water molecules at below 100 °C with the peak point within the range of 51.3 and 57.3 °C, the damage of sago fiber within the range of 275 and 370 °C with the peak point within the range of 333.3 and 341.3 °C and the damage of epoxy resin at above 350 °C with the peak point at 376.2 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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18 pages, 7135 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study of the Effect of Field Retting Time on the Properties of Hemp Fibres Harvested at Different Growth Stages
by Brahim Mazian, Anne Bergeret, Jean-Charles Benezet and Luc Malhautier
Fibers 2019, 7(12), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7120108 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6266
Abstract
In this study, the comparison of field retting of hemp fibres harvested at different growth stages (beginning and end of flowering, seed maturity) was studied. Regardless of the harvest period, identical evolution of the fibres’ properties was observed during retting. The main difference [...] Read more.
In this study, the comparison of field retting of hemp fibres harvested at different growth stages (beginning and end of flowering, seed maturity) was studied. Regardless of the harvest period, identical evolution of the fibres’ properties was observed during retting. The main difference is the kinetics of this transformation, which depend on weather conditions and the initial state of the fibres after harvesting. Retting leads to a change in colour of the stems and fibres, an increase of the cellulose fraction and a gradual improvement of the fibres’ thermal stability, in relation with a decrease in the non-cellulosic materials. This process induces fibre bundle separation into elementary fibres. A long period (5 weeks) is required for getting the highest mechanical properties of fibres harvested at the beginning and the end of flowering. However, the retting of fibres harvested at seed maturity has to be performed in a short period (1 week) in order to avoid over-retting treatment. If the fibres are over-retted, their quality decreases in terms of structure and mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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8 pages, 1392 KiB  
Article
Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Cotton and Other Natural Fibers for Textile Applications
by Angela D. La Rosa and Sotirios A. Grammatikos
Fibers 2019, 7(12), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7120101 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 20450
Abstract
Among natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, wool, flax, hemp, etc., cotton is the one that takes up the highest percentage in the textile market. Nevertheless, there are obstacles associated with its cultivation; it is restricted to sub-tropical climates, and it is dependent [...] Read more.
Among natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, wool, flax, hemp, etc., cotton is the one that takes up the highest percentage in the textile market. Nevertheless, there are obstacles associated with its cultivation; it is restricted to sub-tropical climates, and it is dependent upon high amounts of water, as well as the use of agrochemicals to ensure good yields. The use of pesticides and other types of chemical products give a negative impact on the environment. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used in the present study in order to evaluate the environmental impacts of cotton cultivation and fibers production for textiles. Comparisons among traditional and organic cropping have been carried out. Further comparisons are described with other natural fibers, such as jute, hemp and kenaf, in order to identify the strong and weak points of each product. Weak (e.g., lack of supply, transportation and storage of biomass, infancy of the value chain, lack of production/distribution chains, etc.) and strong aspects (e.g., market potential, rural development, environmental benefits, etc.) are considered for the production of each type of fiber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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16 pages, 9257 KiB  
Article
Osage Orange, Honey Locust and Black Locust Seed Meal Adhesives Employed to Fabricate Composite Wood Panels
by Brent Tisserat and Rogers Harry-O’kuru
Fibers 2019, 7(10), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7100091 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 6235
Abstract
Seed meal of three trees common to the Midwest region of the USA (Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos L., family Fabaceae), Osage orange (Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid., family Moraceae) and Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L., family Fabaceae) were tested for their adhesive [...] Read more.
Seed meal of three trees common to the Midwest region of the USA (Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos L., family Fabaceae), Osage orange (Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid., family Moraceae) and Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L., family Fabaceae) were tested for their adhesive abilities. Seed meals were employed at dosage levels of 10, 15, 25, 50, 75, and 100% reinforced with Paulownia elongata L. wood (PW) or Osage orange wood (OOW) chips to fabricate composite wood panels (CWPs). A comparison of the flexural properties of various tree seed meal CWPs reinforced with PW showed that their flexural properties met or exceeded European Union standards. However, their dimensional stability properties were inferior to nominal standards. Therefore, tree seed meal CWPs could probably have applications in interior environments where such CWPs accept negligible dimensional stability standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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12 pages, 1514 KiB  
Article
Processing Iron Oxide Nanoparticle-Loaded Composite Carbon Fiber and the Photosensitivity Characterization
by Yong X. Gan, Christina Yu, Niousha Panahi, Jeremy B. Gan and Wanli Cheng
Fibers 2019, 7(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7030025 - 22 Mar 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5395
Abstract
In this work, iron oxide nanoparticle loaded carbon fibers were prepared by electrohydrodynamic co-casting a polymer and particle mixture followed by carbonization. The precursor used to generate carbon fibers was a linear molecular chain polymer: polyacrylonitrile (PAN). A solution containing iron (II, III) [...] Read more.
In this work, iron oxide nanoparticle loaded carbon fibers were prepared by electrohydrodynamic co-casting a polymer and particle mixture followed by carbonization. The precursor used to generate carbon fibers was a linear molecular chain polymer: polyacrylonitrile (PAN). A solution containing iron (II, III) oxide (Fe3O4) particles and the PAN polymer dissolved in dimethylformamide (DMF) was electrohydrodynamically co-cast into fibers. The fibers were stabilized in air and carbonized in hydrogen at elevated temperatures. The microstructure and composition of the fibers were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). A quantitative metallographic analysis method was used to determine the fiber size. It was found that the iron (II, III) oxide particles distributed uniformly within the carbonized fibers. Photosensitivity of the particle containing fibers was characterized through measuring the open circuit potential of the fiber samples under the visible light illumination. Potential applications of the fibers for photovoltaics and photonic sensing were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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Review

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17 pages, 3434 KiB  
Review
Techniques for Modelling and Optimizing the Mechanical Properties of Natural Fiber Composites: A Review
by Timothy K. Mulenga, Albert U. Ude and Chinnasamy Vivekanandhan
Fibers 2021, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib9010006 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 7066
Abstract
The study of natural fiber-based composites through the use of computational techniques for modelling and optimizing their properties has emerged as a fast-growing approach in recent years. Ecological concerns associated with synthetic fibers have made the utilisation of natural fibers as a reinforcing [...] Read more.
The study of natural fiber-based composites through the use of computational techniques for modelling and optimizing their properties has emerged as a fast-growing approach in recent years. Ecological concerns associated with synthetic fibers have made the utilisation of natural fibers as a reinforcing material in composites a popular approach. Computational techniques have become an important tool in the hands of many researchers to model and analyze the characteristics that influence the mechanical properties of natural fiber composites. This recent trend has led to the development of many advanced computational techniques and software for a profound understanding of the characteristics and performance behavior of composite materials reinforced with natural fibers. The large variations in the characteristics of natural fiber-based composites present a great challenge, which has led to the development of many computational techniques for composite materials analysis. This review seeks to infer, from conventional to contemporary sources, the computational techniques used in modelling, analyzing, and optimizing the mechanical characteristics of natural fiber reinforced composite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibers and Composites: Science and Applications)
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