All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Selvum (Brian) Pillay

Advisory Committee Members

Alastair R Komus

Lee G Moradi

Uday Vaidya

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Materials Engineering (MSMtE) School of Engineering


There is growing demand for materials that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. One of the areas of focus right now is the transportation/automotive field where more energy efficient vehicles are needed to meet growing government regulations and to reduce the negative impacts on global air quality, human health and global climate. Several researchers are focusing on bio-based composites with natural fibers being the prime choice for fiber reinforced composites. The processing and characterization of 30 wt. % industrial hemp fiber reinforced PP composites for automotive interior components are discussed. The material was compounded by a twin screw and then processed by low shear extrusion and compression molding. The major advantage of this method is the ability to preserve the long fiber length which in turn leads to better mechanical properties. Fiber length and diameter measurements during the various stages of processing show that fiber aspect ratio of approximately 630 was achieved. The effect of chemical treatments and coupling agents are also presented. 5 wt. % MAPP had the best mechanical property results, even after being environmentally conditioned. Compared to neat PP, 30 wt. % hemp fiber with 5 wt. % MAPP had a 91 %, 132 %, 122 % and 297 % increase respectively for flexural strength and modulus and tensile strength and modulus. SEM images of the MAPP specimens illustrated the best interfacial bonding between the fiber-matrix after fiber breakage, which coincided with the high mechanical properties. MAPP reduced the water uptake by 20 % and had better properties after conditioning than the untreated and NaOH treated specimens. 500 and 1,000 hrs of UV exposure reduced the flexural properties by 30 %, however similar to the hygrothermal test, the MAPP specimens had better properties after being conditioned than the untreated and NaOH unconditioned and conditioned specimens. After processing and testing evaluation, a male and female tool die for the duct-screen cleaner component was machined for processing 30 wt. % hemp fiber reinforced PP composites with 5 wt. % MAPP. A successful prototype was manufactured that improved the processing method and form and definition of the existing component.

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