Reinforcement of Epoxy Thermoset Composite Using Acetone-treated Cellulose Microfibers From Sugarcane Bagasse

Author : Bugtong, Claudine Marie Castillo
Major Adviser : Borines, Myra G. 
Major Co-Adviser : Manalo, Ronniel D.
Committee Members : Alcantara, Jerico Z.; Movillon, Jovita A.
Year : 2019
Month : June
Type : Thesis
Degree: BS
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In this research study, cellulose microfiber extracted from sugarcane bagasse was used as a reinforcing agent in epoxy thermoset composites. The bagasse was subjected to Kraft pulping to extract the cellulose. The obtained pulp was then bleached to remove the residual lignin. The α-cellulose extraction was done afterwards, and the cellulose produced was subjected to size reduction using a kitchen blender. The cellulose microfiber was pretreated via solvent exchange method using acetone to improve the dispersion of the fibers to the epoxy. The treated cellulose microfiber was reinforced in the epoxy thermoset composites at varying fiber loading (1 % v/v, 3 % v/v, and 5 % v/v) and curing time (45 min, 60 min, 90 min). Generally, the fiber loadings had insignificant effects on the properties of the composite which may be due to insufficient amount to improve the composite. Flexural strength was highest at 60 min curing time. Contrary to results of previous studies, the water absorption was highest at 1 % v/v fiber loading. Due to the small amount of cellulose in the composite, the effect of the fiber loading may have been dominated by the effect of the quality of the composite produced. The composites were also compared to the neat epoxy which produced better responses for flexural strength and water absorption compared to the reinforced composites. This study showed that in order to significantly improve the properties of composites, it is necessary to add substantial amount of fibers.

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