Composites Innovation Center

Winnipeg, Canada

Composites Innovation Center

Winnipeg, Canada
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Legras A.,University of Queensland | Kondor A.,Surface Measurement Systems LTD | Alcock M.,Composites Innovation Center | Heitzmann M.T.,University of Queensland | Truss R.W.,University of Queensland
Cellulose | Year: 2017

Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) is a gas sorption technique to determine the surface energy of natural fibres. The surface energy is directly related to the thermodynamic work of adhesion and it reflects the fibre adsorption capacity and its wettability. However, natural fibres have a complex surface chemistry of numerous organic species and present physical asperities that render the surface energetically heterogeneous. Since IGC is typically performed at infinite dilution where only the higher energetic sites interact with the solvent, a single measure of surface energy is likely to be misleading as the surface energy changes with changing chemical composition. Here we present the dispersive and acid-base surface energy profiles of flax and kenaf fibres as well as continuous filament fibres produced by a dry jet, wet spinning process (cellulose B). We injected a series of n-alkanes at finite dilution to obtain the dispersive energy distribution profile at (Formula presented.) and 0% RH. The acid-base contributions were determined by injection of mono polar probes (dichloromethane, ethylacetate) at the same surface coverages and applying the Van Oss method. The cellulose B fibres were the most energetically homogeneous, while the bast fibres were shown to have a higher polar component and much broader surface energy distributions than the cellulose fibres. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Sullins T.,University of Alabama at Birmingham | Pillay S.,University of Alabama at Birmingham | Komus A.,Composites Innovation Center | Ning H.,University of Alabama at Birmingham
Composites Part B: Engineering | Year: 2017

Natural fiber reinforced thermoplastic matrix composites have been increasingly used in semi-structural applications in automotive applications because of their good specific strength and modulus, low carbon footprint and recyclability. This research work studies the effects of material treatment(s) on the mechanical behaviors of hemp fiber reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites. The material treatment(s) are realized by chemically treating the hemp fiber with different concentration NaOH and/or adding maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAPP) to the PP matrix. The purpose of the material treatment(s) is to enhance the bonding between the hemp fibers and the polypropylene matrix which otherwise has low surface energy and limited bonding. The mechanical behaviors are investigated with different combinations of material treatment(s) such as 5 wt% MAPP, 5% NaOH treated hemp fiber, 10% NaOH treated hemp fiber, and 5% NaOH + 5 wt% MAPP. 15 wt% and 30 wt% hemp fiber loadings are used in the composites with these material treatments. It is found that the material treatment(s) result(s) in composites with better mechanical properties compared to the composites without any treatment(s). The composites with 5 wt% MAPP addition show the best mechanical properties. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


Guzman L.,University of Manitoba | Chen Y.,University of Manitoba | Potter S.,Composites Innovation Center | Khan M.R.,University of Manitoba
Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal | Year: 2015

Planetary ball mill is a versatile machine which has been used for grinding different types of materials for size reduction and lately for hemp decortication. PFC3D, software employing the discrete element method (DEM), was used to simulate the power and energy requirement of grinding hemp for fibre using a planetary ball mill. The simulation was facilitated through a series of hemp grinding tests using the planetary ball mill to examine the power draw of the mill. The test results identified that grinding speed had a significant effect on the power draw of the mill. The power draw data were used to calibrate the discrete element parameters for different grinding speeds. Using the calibrated parameters, one was able to predict the kinetic energy and friction power loss of the ball mill. The average value of kinetic energy predicted, for grinding speeds of 200 – 500 r/min, ranged between 0.01 and 0.07 J per grinding ball. The prediction showed that frictional power losses dispersed approximately 10% of the total power requirement of the ball mill. Overall, the simulation using PFC3Dimproved understanding about the dynamics of the grinding balls within a planetary ball mill as well as the energy available for transfer in collisions between the grinding balls and hemp material. © 2015, Int. Comm. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. All rights reserved.


Deyholos M.K.,University of Alberta | Potter S.,Composites Innovation Center
Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology | Year: 2014

Bast fibers (i.e. the phloem fibers of crops such as flax and hemp) have been used for millennia in textiles and cordage and are now promising feedstocks for the production of strong, light weight, renewable composite materials. Several factors limit the broad commercial application of bast fibers in composites, including: (i) variability of fiber properties, (ii) their poor adhesion with conventional resins, (iii) moisture absorption by natural fibers and (iv) cost of production, especially as this relates to extraction of high-quality fibers. These problems will be discussed in the context of fiber developmental biology and of potential solutions enabled by genomics and biotechnology. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Foulk J.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Fuqua M.A.,North Dakota State University | Ulven C.A.,North Dakota State University | Alcock M.M.,Composites Innovation Center
International Journal of Sustainable Engineering | Year: 2010

Flax fibre holds the potential to serve as an alternative to glass fibre as reinforcement in composite applications. To fully achieve this, the interaction between fibre and matrix must be improved and more consistently controlled. Only then will industry accept natural fibres as a sustainable engineering material choice. Traditionally, interfacial strength improvement has been accomplished through expensive and time consuming chemical surface modification(s). To achieve improved market potential and viability, new methods of developing composite ready flax fibre must be researched and developed through an assessment of the impact of fibre traits for unmodified fibre. Metal, fungal, bacterial, wax and glucose content were examined in this study to determine their correlative effects upon interfacial adhesion, as were fibre characteristics such as colour, density, fineness, fibreshape thickness, conductivity and pH levels. Composite performance was evaluated using fibre pullout and interfacial shear strength tests. These first attempts at correlating as-received flax fibre traits and resulting flax fibre composite properties contain the initial steps towards identifying key flax fibre characteristics that influence composite performance so that proper growth and fibre processing approaches can be developed.


Van Loon L.L.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Karunakaran C.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Huo S.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Cutler J.N.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | And 2 more authors.
International SAMPE Technical Conference | Year: 2013

Plant fibers such as flax are annuals, providing continual source of new biocomposite materials. However, different varieties and growing conditions may affect the properties important to biocomposite materials fabrication. In addition, the pre-treatment chosen will modify the fiber surface differently. For these reasons it is important to have an in-depth understanding of the physical and chemical interactions that occur between fibers and resin materials for different fibers, pre-treatments, and resin mixtures. At the Canadian Light Source, in conjunction with the Composite Innovation Centre, work conducted at the Mid-Infrared and Soft X-ray Spectromicroscopy beamlines provides a molecular-level understanding of the fiber-resin interface as a function of the fiber material, pretreatment, and resin treatment. Mapping the location of chemical identifiers for plant components including cellulose, lignin, and pectin, in addition to components in the resin creates a picture of the interactions between the resin and fiber wall. This information can be related back to the macro-scale testing regularly performed on composite materials, including breakage and strength testing, allowing for a more complete understanding of composite material performance. In this work, untreated and NaOH/ethanol treated samples of Canadian flax fiber-vinyl ester resin biocomposite samples were examined using synchrotron-sourced Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) microscopy and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM). Preliminary data suggests physical and chemical interactions are occurring between the vinyl ester resin and treated fibers. Copyright 2013 by Aurora Flight Sciences.


Foulk J.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Rho D.,NRC Biotechnology Research Institute | Alcock M.M.,Composites Innovation Center | Ulven C.A.,North Dakota State University | Huo S.,North Dakota State University
Advances in Materials Science and Engineering | Year: 2011

Bethune seed flax was collected from Canada with seed removed using a stripper header and straw pulled and left in field for several weeks. Unretted straw was decorticated providing a coarse fiber bundle feedstock for enzyme treatments. Enzyme treatments using a bacterial pectinolytic enzyme with lyase activity were conducted in lab-scale reactors. Four fiber specimens were created: no retting, minimal retting, moderate retting, and full retting. Fiber characterization tests: strength, elongation, diameter, metal content, wax content, and pH were conducted with significant differences between fibers. Thermosetting vinyl ester resin was used to produce composite panels via vacuum-assisted infusion. Composite performance was evaluated using fiber bundle pull-out, tensile, impact, and interlaminar shear tests. Composite tests indicate that composite panels are largely unchanged among fiber samples. Variation in composite performance might not be realized due to poor interfacial bonding being of larger impact than the more subtle changes incurred by the enzyme treatment. Copyright © 2011 Jonn A. Foulk et al.


Kraj A.,Composites Innovation Center | Potter S.,Composites Innovation Center
JEC Composites Magazine | Year: 2014

Canadian and global manufacturers in the automotive, construction, aerospace, agricultural machinery and other sectors are generating a growing market pull for composite materials that can be used to create lighter, stronger products with reduced energy consumption and a lower environmental footprint. Biocomposites are expected to replace 25% to 30% of the multi-billion dollar worldwide market for composite materials over the next few decades.


Huo S.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Van Loon L.L.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Karunakaran C.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Cutler J.N.,Canadian Light Source Inc. | Potter S.,Composites Innovation Center
International SAMPE Technical Conference | Year: 2014

Bast fibers, such as flax, hemp and jute, have been widely used as reinforcements in composites. Different treatments have been applied to these lingo-cellulosic fibers to improve the interfacial adhesion between the fibers and polymer matrices. However, the physical and chemical interactions between the fibers and matrices at the molecular level are still poorly understood. Synchrotron-based scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) provides spatially resolved chemical information on a nano-scale. Synchrotron-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy offers better signal to noise with a spatial resolution of 10 μm. In this study, both STXM and FTIR spectromicroscopies are used to investigate the interfacial interactions between Canadian flax and selected resins at a molecular level. In particular, differences between flax composite materials developed with either bio-based-polyurethane or vinyl ester matrix are discussed. Copyright 2014. Used by the Society of the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering with permission.


Potter S.,CSIRO | Potter S.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Potter S.,Composites Innovation Center | Loffler S.,CSIRO
Australian Forestry | Year: 2010

A major goal for forest biotechnology is the modulation of tree phenotypes for industrial applications. Such modulation is based on understanding the relationship between genotype and phenotype. Further, the capacity to control gene regulation and expression in a highly targeted manner is a critical component in new methods for achieving this targeted modulation. As such, biotechnology is vital to the continued improvement of existing forest products and the development of aspects of a viable bioeconomy. Such a bioeconomy will be based on differentiated value-added crops and animal breeds for food, feed and health. In a forestry context, novel uses of trees will potentially include traditional and advanced biofibre applications, bioremediation and products from biorefineries: for example, biodegradable plastics and feedstocks. To date biorefinery concepts have emphasised the production of lignin and polyphenols that have considerable potential for the manufacture of high-value products. This paper discusses such developments and assesses the potential for biotechnology to address these complex questions.

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