Fiber Orientation and Concentration in an Injection-Molded Ethylene-Propylene Copolymer Reinforced by Hemp
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
This paper characterizes and analyzes the microstructures of injection-molded polypropylene parts reinforced with 20 wt% of hemp fibers in order to understand the process induced variations in thermomechanical properties. In-thickness fiber orientation and fiber content were determined by X-ray tomography along the flow. The fiber content along the flow path was also determined by direct fiber content measurements after matrix dissolution, showing an increase of 2%/100 mm for a 2.2 mm-thick plate due to fiber migration during the filling stage. A typical shell/core structure for fiber orientation in injection molding was observed, but with a very clear transition between the layer solidified under high shear rates and the core in which the fiber content was reduced by more than 50%. The orientation of hemp fibers is lower than the one of glass fibers, especially in thickness direction. However, the overall fiber orientation in the injection direction induces significant anisotropic thermomechanical properties, which cannot be explained by simple micromechanical models that consider isotropic mechanical properties for hemp fibers. These phenomena must be taken into account in process simulation codes for injection molding to better predict thermomechanical properties as well as part shrinkage and warpage to design molds.
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