Mechanical properties of leaf sheath date palm fibre waste biomass reinforced polycaprolactone (PCL) biocomposites
Date palm fibres are one of the most available natural fibres in North Africa and the Middle East. A significant amount of date palm fibres biomass is wasted annually and only limited amounts are used in low value products. In this study, tensile and low-velocity impact responses of biodegradable, lignocellulosic biomass reinforced polycaprolactone (PCL) biocomposites are reported. Two different types of laminates reinforced with date palm fibre obtained from agriculture waste were manufactured using an extrusion process. The influence of processing parameters, such as screw rotation speed on the tensile and low-velocity impact damage characteristics have been investigated. The tensile strength increased for neat PCL from 19 MPa to 25 MPa with 28 wt.% reinforcement of date palm fibres. Similarly, the tensile modulus for neat PCL was increased from 140 MPa to 282 MPa upon reinforcement. The screw rotation speed showed a moderate effect on palm fibre morphologies, and slight effect on tensile properties of the biocomposites. Specimens with lower incident energy of 25 J achieved better impact resistance compared to that of 50 J. The impact damage of biocomposites analysed through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) on the fractured surfaces showed various modes of damage. The biocomposites developed in this work can be used as an economically and environmentally attractive alternative materials for lightweight applications in automotive and marine sectors.