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Biocomposites from Engineered Natural Fibers for Housing Panel Applications

Michigan State University

* Lawrence T. Drzal, Principal Investigator
* Amar Mohanty, Co-Principal Investigator

Start: September 15, 2001
Expires: May 31, 2004


The objective of this proposal will be the development of natural fiber (bio-based) composites for housing panel applications as an environmentally-friendly alternative to contemporary synthetic glass fiber-polyester composite materials. Research under this project will investigate the utility of combining surface treated bast fibers (e.g. kenaf, hemp) with leaf fibers (e.g. pineapple leaf) in order to synergistically obtain the desired mechanical properties of strength, stiffness and toughness. The bast fiber biocomposites alone show high flexural/tensile properties while the leaf fiber based bio-composites alone show the best impact properties. The agricultural origin of the bio-fibers will create a new value-added use for pineapple leaf, at present a waste/underutilized product.

This project will be executed through effective collaboration of University (MSU), a housing panel manufacturing company (Kemlite), and a natural fiber company (Flaxcraft) in order to understand the changing demand and requirements of paneling systems by industry so that the use of bio-composites is maximized. The fundamental knowledge of the relevant structure-processing-property relationships gained will be the basis for the commercialization of biocomposites into the housing market.

To view additional details on this NSF award, click here.

Content updated on 9/21/2005

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