Engineering Materials

Summer Research

Institute: Dongguk University

Year: Summer 2018

Goal: Fabricate a validated nano-cellulose reinforced polypropylene (PP) and polyamide 6 (PA6) composites 


  • Fabricated, tested, and analyzed the polymers

  • Natural fibres that are low cost, low density, and high in renewability and biodegradability was used

  • Analyzed also through SolidWorks, ANSYS, and ABAQUS

  • Published abstract and presented at Emerging Technologies in Mechanical Engineering (ETME 2018)

Technical Details

To counter the main challenges of obtaining well-dispersed nano-cellulose in the polymer matrix and to establish compatible linkages between the nano-cellulose and the composites, several fabrication methods were tested and used.

The fabrication of nano-cellulose reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites was conducted using a twin-screw co-rotating extruder with the masterbatch concept.

Polyamide 6 (PA6) composites containing nano-cellulose were prepared with a multistep process, consisting of in-situ anionic ring-opening polymerization and subsequent melt extrusions. 

To validate the durability and strength of the fabricated composites, several surface modification methods were compared. The effects of modification with aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APS) and maleic anhydride polypropylele (MAPP) were studied using microscopic and mechanical techniques. These were compared with the unmodified PP and PA6 composites.

Computational analysis was also performed to validate the experimental results. representative volume element (RVE) model of the composoites were created, and both the mean-field homogenization (MFH) based on the analytical model using the Mori-Tanaka Model and the finite element homogenizatoin (FEH) based on the numerical model using finite element analysis were conducted.

Computational analysis results and experimental results from the RVE model were validated and adjusted to match the clustering phenomena between the nano-cellulose in the inner matrix and the phsycial properites and thickness variation of the interphase between the two composite matrices (PP and PA6) and the nano-cellulose.

© 2021 by Olivia Heui Young Park

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