Natural Fiber Testing/Characterization
“Back me my sylvan woods and take back thy town”, says the poet. In ME Department at NDSU, we are essentially bringing that forest back by harnessing the unexplored, untraveled, inhospitable province of natural fibers.
For centuries, these bio or natural fibers have served human being in a variety of ways like providing clothes, ropes, bags etc. Now in ME department at NDSU, we are engineering them in manufacturing advanced yet bio-based; biodegradable, eco-friendly and eco-efficient; yet commercially successful, composite materials.
Our research on natural fibers is interdisciplinary in nature. In one hand, as mechanical engineer, we investigate their stress-strain and fracture behavior, on the other hand, as material scientist, we dig deep into their complicated surface phenomena.
Flax Fiber Testing
Development of Standard Test Methods and Procedures for Flax Fiber
This study is conducted as an effort to develop a standard test methods for characterization and conditioning of flax fiber and is result of a collaborative work of a team of researchers from North Dakota State University and Composites Innovation Centre of Winnipeg, Canada under ASTM committee on natural fibers for over three years. One of these test methods is development of standard procedure for density measurement of flax fiber using Archimedes and gas pycnometry method.
Density is a fundamental physical property of a reinforcement in composite materials. It appears widely in calculations, which are mostly used for engineering designs. To establish a proper method based on buoyancy method, different test fluids were considered as immersion fluid for density measurement of flax fiber with and without use of a vacuum oven. Results of gas pycnometry tests of the same flax sample was used as the reference for comparison. In addition, significance of effect of different variables on the results of density measurements were studied by performing a ruggedness test according to ASTM E1169-14. Variables such as, specimen size, vacuum pressure, vacuum time and type of immersion fluid were studied by the ruggedness test. Based on results of this project, first draft of an ASTM standard for density measurement of flax fiber has been prepared and approved by ASTM committee.