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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Silk as a Natural Reinforcement: Processing and Properties of Silk/Epoxy Composite Laminates

1
Mechanical Engineering Program, University of Houston−Clear Lake, Houston, TX 77058, USA
2
School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(11), 2135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11112135
Received: 3 October 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
With growing environmental awareness, natural fibers have recently received significant interest as reinforcement in polymer composites. Among natural fibers, silk can potentially be a natural alternative to glass fibers, as it possesses comparable specific mechanical properties. In order to investigate the processability and properties of silk reinforced composites, vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) was used to manufacture composite laminates reinforced with woven silk preforms. Specific mechanical properties of silk/epoxy laminates were found to be anisotropic and comparable to those of glass/epoxy. Silk composites even exhibited a 23% improvement of specific flexural strength along the principal weave direction over the glass/epoxy laminate. Applying 300 kPa external pressure after resin infusion was found to improve the silk/epoxy interface, leading to a discernible increase in breaking energy and interlaminar shear strength. Moreover, the effect of fabric moisture on the laminate properties was investigated. Unlike glass mats, silk fabric was found to be prone to moisture absorption from the environment. Moisture presence in silk fabric prior to laminate fabrication yielded slower fill times and reduced mechanical properties. On average, 10% fabric moisture induced a 25% and 20% reduction in specific flexural strength and modulus, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: epoxy; natural fiber composites; silk fibers epoxy; natural fiber composites; silk fibers
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hamidi, Y.K.; Yalcinkaya, M.A.; Guloglu, G.E.; Pishvar, M.; Amirkhosravi, M.; Altan, M.C. Silk as a Natural Reinforcement: Processing and Properties of Silk/Epoxy Composite Laminates. Materials 2018, 11, 2135. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11112135

AMA Style

Hamidi YK, Yalcinkaya MA, Guloglu GE, Pishvar M, Amirkhosravi M, Altan MC. Silk as a Natural Reinforcement: Processing and Properties of Silk/Epoxy Composite Laminates. Materials. 2018; 11(11):2135. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11112135

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hamidi, Youssef K.; Yalcinkaya, M. A.; Guloglu, Gorkem E.; Pishvar, Maya; Amirkhosravi, Mehrad; Altan, M. C. 2018. "Silk as a Natural Reinforcement: Processing and Properties of Silk/Epoxy Composite Laminates" Materials 11, no. 11: 2135. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11112135

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