Advantages of using natural fibre applications in composites

The rapid consumption of petroleum-based products and its negative impact on the environment has lead to an increase in environmental consciousness when it comes to sustainable materials and products. Natural fibres are categorised as an environmental friendly material, which contains good properties, compared to synthetic fibres.

Advantages of natural fibre composites
In it simplest definition natural fibres are sourced from plants or animals, meaning they are not synthetic or manmade. Natural fibres can come from a large variety of fibre sources:

  • Bast fibres: Jute, flax, hemp, kenaf, bamboo
  • Seed fibres: Cotton, coir, kapok
  • Leaf fibres: Sisal, pineapple, banana, abaca, palm
  • Grass and reed fibres: Rice, corn, wheat
  • Core fibres: Hemp, kenaf, jute

When it comes to the properties of the natural fibres, it is important to state that difference occurs when choosing one type of fibre over another. The performance of the composite depends on many factors such as structure, mechanical composition, physical properties, cell dimensions, microfibrillar angle etc.

Fibre reinforced composites have received much attention based on different applications because of the good properties and the advantages found over synthetic fibres.

Here natural fibres contain low cost, density and weight, less pollution during production resulting in minimal health hazards and eco-friendly nature. Composites reinforced with natural fibres also have a short lifetime when it comes to degradation with limited environmental damage whereas synthetic fibres have a negative impact due to degradation pollution.

Application possibilities
With the use of natural fibres in composites, there exist many possibilities since the number of different application possibilities is rapidly growing within many engineering fields. Natural fibre reinforces composites containing fibres such as bamboo, jute, hemp and kenaf. They have been received in many industries such as packaging, automobile and construction but natural fibre composites are also finding its way into sport, aerospace, boat and electronic industries too. This widespread use of natural fibres in composites comes down to fairly low production cost, low weight, right strength, good mechanical properties and resistance to fatigue.