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Exploiting Plasma Exposed, Natural Surface Nanostructures in Ramie Fibers for Polymer Composite Applications

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
2
College of Engineering, University of Misan, Maysan 62001, Iraq
3
Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1631; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101631
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Plasma Processes for Nanotechnologies)
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Abstract

Nanoscale surface morphology of plant fibers has important implications for the interfacial bonding in fiber-polymer composites. In this study, we investigated and quantified the effect of plasma-surface modification on ramie plant fibers as a potential tool for simple and efficient surface modification. The extensive investigation of the effects of plasma treatment of the fiber surface nano-morphology and its effect on the fiber-polymer interface was performed by Low-Voltages Scanning Electron Microscopy (LV-SEM), infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis, fiber-resin angle measurements and mechanical (tensile) testing. The LV-SEM imaging of uncoated plasma treated fibers reveals nanostructures such as microfibrils and elementary fibrils and their importance for fiber mechanical properties, fiber wettability, and fiber-polymer matrix interlocking which all peak at short plasma treatment times. Thus, such treatment can be an effective in modifying the fiber surface characteristics and fiber-polymer matrix interlocking favorably for composite applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: ramie fibers; plasma treatment; nanoscale structures; microfibrils; surface wettability; LV-SEM ramie fibers; plasma treatment; nanoscale structures; microfibrils; surface wettability; LV-SEM
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Hamad, S.F.; Stehling, N.; Hayes, S.A.; Foreman, J.P.; Rodenburg, C. Exploiting Plasma Exposed, Natural Surface Nanostructures in Ramie Fibers for Polymer Composite Applications. Materials 2019, 12, 1631.

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