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Development of natural fibers reinforced composites: macro and nano scales


The present project includes the development of composites in macro and nano, based in thermoplastics matrices, PP, PVA and PHB, reinforced with several natural fibers. The fibers to be studied come from mechanical extraction of leaves from sisal, curaua, pinapple and banana. The process, in general, consists of mechanical extraction. Further, the fibers will be cutted, classified in the adequate mesh and later on through a chemical pulping process. The pulp will be hydrolized and filtered, aiming the production of nanofibers. The nanofibers will be characterized by X-ray difraction to measures the crystallinity, electronic transmission microscopy (TEM), to analise the geometrical properties (length, diameter and shape), AFM (atomic force microscopy, to evaluate the nanofibers surface. The SEM (Scanning Electronic Microscopy) and AFM will be used in the macro and nano composites aiming better understand the fracture mechanism in the analysis of tension resistance, flexural, impact (IZOD), surface hardness (Shore D) and HDT (Heat DFeflexion Temperature). Others analisys will be used and are described in the project metholology. It will be done a comparison between composites at macro and nano scales with the objective to define the gains in mechanical properties obtained with the introduction of nanofibers in the natural fibers reinforced composites. The expectation is to obtain significant gain in the nanocomposite when compared with the macrocomposites, due to increase in the aspect ratio. With the expected gains these materials will be introduced in industrial sectors that require high performance composites, with the additional advantages of be renewable, recyclable and with great social importance, mainly in the case of sisal fibers. The environmental advantages will be noticed in the case of the fibers of pinapple and banana, agricultural residues; and curaua, that comes from Amazonia, representing a source of income of non-wood products, that will contribute to the sustainibility of the Amazon ecossystem. The formation of human resources in this area will contribute to the valorisation of materials so called greens, bringing new perspectives for the national agriculture, using low value resources, as the case of the natural fibers, aiming the production of materials with high aggregate value (nanocomposites). (AU)

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