Technical Article!

Technical Article


This paper shows the experimental results of a research aimed to study the influence of the compatibilization technique related to the application of physical sputtering plasma to bamboo fibers, on the tensile strength of fibers and bamboo/polyester composites. Results showed that the applied treatment modifies the surface but does not affect the fiber’s strength and significantly increase the composite’s strength.



There are many advantages from using natural fibers in the composite industry, such as their low energy production and high specific strength and stiffness, that make them a sustainable alternative (Halip et al., 2019). Polymers are the most frequent matrix in the composite industry, where the main disadvantage from using natural fibers as reinforcement of polymers is the incompatibility between the hydrophilic fibers and the hydrophobic polymers (Hashim et al., 2017), leading to a poor stress transfer bonding between composite phases. This limitation can be overcome by the modification of the physicochemical properties of natural fibers or polymers. For industrial applications, the modification of the physicochemical properties of natural fibers is commonly used (Luna et al., 2016), which can be achieved by using chemical or physical approaches (Fernandes et al., 2015). The main purpose of physical approaches is to change the fiber's structural and surface properties, thus mainly affecting the mechanical bonding with polymer matrices. The most common physical methods are plasma and corona treatments (Sanjay et al., 2018). One of the purposes of applying plasma to the fibers is etching, in order to remove part of the material on the fiber surface substrate (Bogaerts et al., 2002) without affecting the inner fiber structure (Barra et al., 2015). That removal can be achieved by using a physical sputtering procedure, in which the material is removed due to the bombardment of ions present in the plasma.

This paper shows the results of a research aimed to analyze the effect from treating bamboo fibers with physical sputtering plasma on the tensile strength of fibers and specimens of bamboo/polyester composites. All plasma treatments were made using the same energy and varying the treatment time: 0, 400, 1000, 1500 and 2000s. The composite was fabricated using the manual molding technique. 



Fig. 1 shows the normalized tensile strength of bamboo fibers and bamboo/polyester composites. According to the figure, the applied treatments do not alter the fiber’s strength and increase the composite’s strength until twice (treatment time 1000s). This study shows that, as explained in the literature, plasma treatments do not affect the bulk properties of the treated fibers. However, composites bearing fibers treated with plasma improved their tensile performance, which is attributed to the improvement of the mechanical bonding between composite constituents.



The authors acknowledge the support provided by Colciencias (funding 6172), and Universidad Nacional de Colombia (funding DIB 34835).

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