Reinforcement of flexible fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) composites with standard textile fibres is a potential low cost solution to less critical loading applications. The mechanical behaviour of FRPs based on mechanically bonded nonwoven preforms composed of either low or high modulus fibres in a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrix were compared following compression moulding. Nonwoven preform fibre compositions were selected from lyocell, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamide (PA) as well as para-aramid fibres (polyphenylene terephthalamide; PPTA). Reinforcement with standard fibres manifold improved the tensile modulus and strength of the reinforced composites and the relationship between fibre, fabric and composite’s mechanical properties was studied. The linear density of fibres and the punch density, a key process variable used to consolidate the nonwoven preform, were varied to study the influence on resulting FRP mechanical properties. In summary, increasing the strength and degree of consolidation of nonwoven preforms did not translate to an increase in the strength of resulting fibre reinforced TPU-composites. The TPU composite strength was mainly dependent upon constituent fibre stress-strain behaviour and fibre segment orientation distribution.
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