Domestic Thermal Insulation with Sugarcane Composite

On this modern age the composite materials are become the primary material for any engineering production because composite materials have several specific properties such as high strength to weight ratio, low cost, and ease of fabrication, tensile strength, compressive strength, Impact strength, high resistance to thermal which does not realize in pure material or non-composite material. Because of its vast application, a Mechanical Engineer should know how to fabricate and teste a composite material. In this project, you will be using two waste materials i.e. bagasse and waste plastic to produce a composite. The composite can be used for the purpose of heat insulation which we can apply in our rooftops or any place where we can reduce the heat transfer. The main aspect of our project is to produce something useful out of waste materials.

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In this project you will fabricate a fiber reinforced plastic composite material by using Bagasse as reinforcement and plastic as the Matrix of composite material. The composite formed by using both waste materials bagasse and plastic need to be tested by you under various loading conditions to determine the improved mechanical and thermal properties so that it could be used as the thermal insulator at various places like rooftops.

Project Description:

  1. Composite Material: Materials like Iron, Steel are better in tension but poor in compression, similarly Wood, Cast Iron is better in compression but poor in tension. To gain the benefit of having more such properties in one material we combine two or more materials in some arrangement. These types of materials are called composite materials.
  2. Bagasse: Bagasse is the residue fiber remaining when sugar cane is pressed to extract the sugar. Bagasse is composed of fiber and pith, the fiber is thick walled, coarse, stiff and relatively long. Bagasse is a plentiful lignocellulosic waste typically found in tropical countries that process sugarcane. It is used either as a fuel for boilers by the sugar factory or as a raw material for the manufacture of pulp and paper products. Currently, bagasse sugarcane, a waste product of the sugar industry, is mainly burned as fuel in sugar mill boilers. The low cost, low density and acceptable mechanical properties of bagasse fiber make it an ideal candidate to be considered for value-added applications such as reinforcement in plastic composites. The advantages of incorporating natural fiber as reinforcement in plastic composites are related to their mechanical and thermal properties at reasonable cost Different treatment techniques enhance the adhesion and compatibility between fibers and matrix, hence improving the mechanical properties of the composite.
  3. Waste Plastic: On the other hand, different waste plastics can be used like Plastic bottles (Polyethylene Terephthalate), Plastic bags (Polyethylene), Toys or Pipes (Polyvinyl Chloride), Straws or Medicine bottles (Polypropylene), Egg cartons or cups or bowls (Polystyrene) etc.
  4. Fibre Reinforced Composites: Fibre reinforced composites have been widely successful in hundreds of applications where there was a need for high strength materials. There are thousands of custom formulations which offer FRPs a wide variety of tensile and flexural strengths. When compared with traditional materials such as metals, the combination of high strength and lower weight has made FRC an extremely popular choice for improving a product’s design and performance.

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Project Implementation:

  1. To fabricate the composite, first you have to collect Bagasse from your locality. Then you have to wash it thoroughly so that no sugar is left out.
  2. After proper washing is done you have to dry the Bagasse nearly a day to remove any moisture present in it. Then you have to perform alkali solution treatment to kill bacteria present in it.
  3. Then you have to cut alkali treated Bagasse into small fibers using cutter.
  4. Then on the other side you have to collect waste plastic bottle and you have to melt it in a furnace. Maintain the temperature so that it will remain in liquid form.
  5. Make a square box with one side open, using wood or Cast iron with dimension 100*100*20mm. This box will be used as a mold for fabricating your composite.
  6. Now, pour a layer of melted plastic into the mold and after that add one layer of chopped Bagasse fibers upon it.
  7. Then pour another layer of molten plastic upon the Bagasse fiber layer giving it a sandwich structure.
  8. After this apply equal pressure throughout the mold so that both the material mixes together to form an effective composite material.
  9. Then wait for few hours so that the mixture in the mold dries down and your composite is ready for tasting purpose.
  10. Then make a few sample specimens for performing various tests. At least Make 3 standard specimen for each test.
  11. Perform a tensile test using an ATM machine to find ultimate tensile strength, breaking strength, maximum elongation, and reduction in area. From these measurements determine Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio, yield strength, and strain-hardening characteristics.
  12. Then perform the compressive test in the same machine to find out ultimate compressive strength, breaking strength etc.
  13. After that perform the flexural test, impact test and wear test on the composite material with the standard specimen and note down respective results.
  14. Compare your results with respect to the different specimen to realize how good your composite in different loading condition.
  15. At the end determine the thermal conductivity of your composite to know how good thermal insulator is it.

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Project Brief: The composite which you will build most be strong in both compression, tension and bending too. Proper distribution of reinforcements and polymers over the entire volume will result in higher mechanical strength of the composite.

Hardware Requirements:

You will be needing a Universal Testing Machine (UTM), a Charpy impact test machine, Pin-on-disc wear testing machine, a Flexural testing machine for performing various strength test on your composite.

  1. Universal Testing Machine: A universal testing machine is generally used to test the tensile stress and compressive strength of materials. It is able to perform many standard tensile and compression tests on materials, components, and structures, it is named as Universal Testing Machine (UTM). You need this machine to perform various tests on the fabricated composite material of yours.
  2. Charpy Impact Test Machine: The Charpy impact test, also known as the Charpy V-notch test, is a standardized high strain-rate test which determines the amount of energy absorbed by a material during fracture. This machine you will use for the above purpose only.
  3. Pin-On-Disc Wear Tester: Pin-on-disc wear testing is a method of characterizing the coefficient of friction, frictional force and rate of wear between two materials. As a particularly versatile method for testing wear resistance. You are going to measure frictional force and other parameter related to friction using this machine.
  4. Flexural Testing Machine: These machines are used to test the flexural strength of a beam. Flexural strength is nothing but the banding strength of a beam under normal loading.

Software requirements:

Miniplot: You can use this software for plotting and comparing your result data.

Kit required to develop Domestic Thermal Insulation with Sugarcane Composite:
Technologies you will learn by working on Domestic Thermal Insulation with Sugarcane Composite:
Fabrication of Composite from Sugarcane Bagasse and Waste Plastic for Domestic Thermal Insulation
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2022-05-19

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