FABRICATION OF ALIGNED PINEAPPLE LEAF FIBRE REINFORCED POLYLACTIC ACID COMPOSITE FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE BIOCOMPOSITES
The growing concern on the environmental issue has increased the demand for eco-friendly and sustainable biodegradable composite. Natural fibre provides an alternative to the usage of non-degradable fibre such as glass and carbon fibre but their mechanical properties are still inferior. Thus, in this present work, an attempt has been carried out to produce biocomposites with high strength that are potential to be used in structural applications. The uniaxial composites were fabricated by drawing the pineapple leaf yarn in polylactic acid (PLA) solution via the pre-pregging method followed by hot compression moulding. The chemical analysis of the fibres was carried out using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Flexural properties with different fibre loadings were tested. Results showed the composite with 60 wt. % of alkali-treated pineapple leaf fibre has the optimum flexural strength and stiffness, which are 145.1 MPa and 9.35 GPa respectively, significantly higher than the neat PLA. In contrast, the flexural strain reduced as the fibre loading increase. Surface morphology observed using SEM indicated that the composite failed due to fibre breaking and favourable interfacial adhesion is present in the composites. These findings suggest that fabrication methods used in this study can improve the matrix impregnation around the fibres hence contributing to their high mechanical performance.