Mechanical Behavior of Unidirectional Curaua Fiber and Glass Fiber Composites



Summary: This work intends to promote the use of natural fibers by comparing the behavior of isophthalic polyester matrix composites reinforced with unidirectional curaua fibers with that of unidirectional glass fiber composites. The composites were produced varying the reinforcement angle (0°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75° and 90°) with the aim of studying the fiber orientation effect on composite strength. Composites were also made varying the fiber volume fraction (10%, 20%, 30%, 40% and 50%). The efficiency of an alkaline (5% NaOH) surface treatment of the curaua fiber was also evaluated. The unidirectional composites were characterized using tensile, flexural and short beam tests as per ASTM standards. The properties of a lamina reinforced with either glass or curaua fibers were also studied using theoretical micromechanical approach available in commercial software. The curaua fiber alkaline treatment produced higher tensile strength results compared with untreated fibers. The increase in reinforcement angle significantly decreased strength and modulus of the composites, as expected, and the glass fiber composites showed a more pronounced dependence with fiber orientation. Although the glass fiber laminas showed the best mechanical performance, the results obtained with the curaua fibers were considered similar for angles greater than 45°.