Microstructure and Thermal (TGA & DTA) Analysis of a Polymer Based Composite Material

Many of the engineers and researchers have done their research on composite materials and they found that the composite which is made from two different materials with different chemical and physical property that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from individual components. Doing research in composite material easy bit easy. A lot of scholars during Ph.D. work on composite material to publish papers and get a Ph.D. quickly. So, having knowledge in manufacturing and testing of composite material will be helpful to an engineer, who wants to pursue higher studies.

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In this project, you will use both artificial and natural fibers for the preparation of samples. You will make the sample from epoxy, bamboo, flax, glass fibers by using hand layup method. Then you have to perform a thermal test of fiber by performing thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and distortion temperature analysis (DTA).

There are many processes to fabricate a composite material, such as hand lay-up, automated lay-up, spray-up, filament winding, pultrusion, resin transfer molding etc. but hand layup method is easy and cost-effective. You will use this process to fabricate this composite material. After fabricating the sample, you need to perform the Tensile test and Compressive test by making standard specimens of your sample in Universal Testing Machine.

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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. 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 FRP 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.
  3. Bamboo fiber: Bamboo fibre is a regenerated cellulosic fibre produced from bamboo. The starchy pulp is produced from bamboo stems and leaves through a process of alkaline hydrolysis and multi-phase bleaching. Further chemical processes produce bamboo fiber.
  4. Flex: Natural fibres are subdivided into different classes with flax being a bast fibre. Bast fibers bear the potential for industrial use based on their toughness and structural contribution. It has outstanding mechanical properties plus local availability. This will be a great addition to the reinforcement phase of your composite.
  5. Glass fiber: Glass fiber is also known as fiberglass. It is material made from the extremely fine fiber of glass Fiberglass is a lightweight, extremely strong, and robust material.
  6. Ployester: The polyester materials, while less costly, have lower strength characteristics and are less heat and weather resistant. As such though, they are the most widely used in commercial products. The epoxy, bismaleimide, phenolic, and polyimide matrix materials exhibit superior mechanical properties and heat resistance qualities.
  7. Epoxy: Epoxy are applied as a coating on the composite material to produce a hard, chemical and solvent chemical finish.

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Project Implementation:

  1. To fabricate the composite first, you have to collect bamboo from your locality. Then you have to wash it thoroughly so that no impurities will be there.
  2. After completing the above process, you have to dry the Bamboo 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 Bamboo into small fibers using the cutter.
  4. 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.
  5. Then use polyethylene at the bottom of the mold to get the good surface finish.
  6. Then start adding one layer of polyester and upon which put fibers layer by layer. Keep repeating this step, until you get desired thickness.
  7. After this apply equal pressure throughout the mold so that both the material mixes together to form an effective composite material.
  8. Then wait for few hours so that the mixture in the mold dries down and your composite is ready for tasting purpose.
  9. Then make a few sample specimens for performing the various test. At least Make 4 standard specimen for each test.
  10. After the sample is made to perform thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and distortion temperature analysis (DTA).
  11. In Thermogravimetric analysis measures the amount and rate of change in the weight of your composite material as a function of temperature or time in a controlled atmosphere. Perform this test at 200°C, 400°C, 600°C and 1000°C.
  12. Then perform the surface test on the sample using SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) and EDX (Energy Dispersive X-ray) test. SEM is performed to get high-resolution images of the sample and EDX is performed to get element identification and quantitative compositional information.
  13. At the end compare your experimental result with the thermal strength of parent materials and observe the change in property.

Project Brief: After successful completion of the project, you can observe that your composite will possess greater thermal strength from the raw materials which are used to manufacture.

Software requirements:

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

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Microstructure and Thermal (TGA & DTA) Analysis of a Polymer Based Composite Material
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2021-03-04

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