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Towards improving and developing a plastination technique for bamboo culms and flax fibres Osmond, Reeghan


Natural fibres are replacing synthetic materials in a variety of different applications because they come from renewable resources, are easier to process, and are relatively cheap. Specifically, natural fibres are commonly used to make natural fibre-reinforced polymer (NFRP) composites. There are some challenges associated with NFRPs, namely, they have a poor fibre-matrix bond, absorb a lot of moisture, are susceptible to microbial attack, and are flammable. To improve these issues, chemical treatments are normally used. A new treatment technique, called plastination, was recently used to improve the moisture durability of whole bamboo culms. It involves replacing water in a sample with a curable polymer. However, this process was relatively long and done delicately since it was originally invented to preserve human remains for teaching anatomy. First, this research presents an improved plastination technique for bamboo, which takes around five days to complete and impregnates almost all of the microchannels in the samples. This process also does not require a freezer or continual monitoring of the vacuum chamber. The samples plastinated using the improved technique had 93 % of the area in their metaxylem vessels filled with silicone, which was greatly improved from the 24 % filled using the previous technique. The plastinated samples had a 46 % higher flexural strength than non-plastinated samples. However, the technique did not improve the moisture durability, or flammability of the samples. But less carbon monoxide was produced by plastinated bamboo, during flammability tests. The plastinated bamboo also appeared have the same biodegradability as non-plastinated bamboo. A plastination technique for woven natural fabrics was also developed using the known vacuum infusion manufacturing process. However, there was no major difference seen between the flexural properties in the plastinated and non-plastinated flax fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. Furthermore, after moisture absorption, there was no major difference between the tensile properties of the plastinated and non-plastinated samples.

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Attribution 4.0 International