This research deals with the development of knitted hollow composites from recycled cotton fibers (RCF) and glass fibers (GF). These knitted hollow composites can be used for packaging of heavy weight products and components in aircrafts, marine crafts, automobiles, civil infrastructure, etc. They can also be used in medical prosthesis or in sports equipment. Glass fiber-based hollow composites can be used as an alternative to steel or wooden construction materials for interior applications. Developed composite samples were subjected to hardness, compression, flexural, and impact testing. Recycled cotton fiber, which is a waste material from industrial processes, was chosen as an ecofriendly alternative to cardboard-based packaging material. The desired mechanical performance of knitted hollow composites was achieved by changing the tube diameter and/or thickness. Glass fiber-reinforced knitted hollow composites were compared with RC fiber composites. They exhibited substantially higher compression strength as compared to cotton fiber-reinforced composites based on the fiber tensile strength. However, RC fiber-reinforced hollow composites showed higher compression modulus as compared to glass fiber-based composites due to much lower deformation during compression loading. Compression strength of both RCF- and GF-reinforced hollow composites decreases with increasing tube diameter. The RCF-based hollow composites were further compared with double-layered cardboard packaging material of similar thickness. It was observed that cotton-fiber-reinforced composites show higher compression strength, as well as compression modulus, as compared to the cardboard material of similar thickness. No brittle failure was observed during the flexural test, and samples with smaller tube diameter exhibited higher stiffness. The flexural properties of glass fiber-reinforced composites were compared with RCF composites. It was observed that GF composites exhibit superior flexural properties as compared to the cotton fiber-based samples. Flexural strength of RC fiber-reinforced hollow composites was also compared to that of cardboard packaging material. The composites from recycled cotton fibers showed substantially higher flexural stiffness as compared to double-layered cardboard material. Impact energy absorption was measured for GF and RCF composites, as well as cardboard material. All GF-reinforced composites exhibited higher absorption of impact energy as compared to RCF-based samples. Significant increase in absorption of impact energy was achieved by the specimens with higher tube thickness in the case of both types of reinforcing fibers. By comparing the impact performance of cotton fiber-based composites with cardboard packaging material, it was observed that the RC fiber-based hollow composites absorb much higher impact energy as compared to the cardboard-based packaging material. The current paper summarizes a comparative analysis of mechanical performance in the case of glass fiber-reinforced hollow composites vis-à-vis recycled cotton fiber-reinforced hollow composites. The use of recycled fibers is a positive step in the direction of ecofriendly materials and waste utilization. Their performance is compared with commercial packaging material for a possible replacement and reducing burden on the environment.
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