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SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 61 , Issue 8 : 1107-1113(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-017-9272-4

Enhanced flexural performance of epoxy polymer concrete with short natural fibers

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  • ReceivedSep 13, 2017
  • AcceptedApr 28, 2018
  • PublishedJul 12, 2018

Abstract

Epoxy polymer concrete (EPC) has found various applications in civil engineering. To enhance the flexural performance of EPC, two kinds of short natural fibers with high specific strength (sisal fibers and ramie fibers) have been incorporated into EPC. The results of mechanical tests show that a small loading of natural fibers (0.36 vol%) can significantly increase the flexural strength of EPC by 25.3% (ramie fibers) or 10.4% (sisal fibers). This enhancement is achieved without any sacrifice of compressive strength of EPC. The reinforcing effects of short natural fibers on the flexural properties and compressive properties of EPC decrease with further increase in fiber content, due to the insufficient wetting of fibers by epoxy resin which results in poor interfacial bonding. The reinforcing mechanisms of short natural fibers are explored according to the observation of fracture surfaces and micromechanical modelling. It is found that the parallel model based on the rule of mixture can be a good approximation to describe the improvement in flexural strength of the short natural fiber reinforced EPC at low fiber volume fractions.


Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,Nos.,11772131,&,11772132)

the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province

China(Grant,Nos.,2015A030311046,&,2015B010131009)

the Opening fund of State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics(LNM)

CAS

and South China University of Technology(Grant,No.,2017ZD096)


Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11772131 & 11772132), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (Grant Nos. 2015A030311046 & 2015B010131009), the Opening Fund of State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics (LNM), CAS, and South China University of Technology (Grant No. 2017ZD096). The authors would thank Prof. Chun Wei (Guilin University of Technology) for the inspiring discussions.


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) (a) Surface treatment of the two kinds of natural fibers; (b) chopped pieces of sisal fibers and ramie fibers.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Setup of (a) four-point-bending test and (b) compression test for NFREPC.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Typical flexural stress-deflection curves of the EPC reinforced with (a) short sisal fibers and (b) short ramie fibers.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Fracture surfaces of the NFREPC with (a) 0.36 vol% sisal fibers, (b) 0.36 vol% ramie fibers, (c) 0.48 vol% sisal fibers and (d) 0.48 vol% ramie fibers. The exposed fibers on the facture surfaces are marked with circles.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Fractured NFREPC specimens under compression with (a) 0.36 vol% ramie fibers and (b) 0.36 vol% sisal fibers.

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) Measured flexural strength and the results predicted by the micromechanics models for the NFREPC with (a) short sisal fibers and (b) short ramie fibers.

  • Table 1   Physical and mechanical properties of sisal fibers and ramie fibers

    Fiber type

    Sisal fiber

    Ramie fiber

    Density (g cm−3)

    1.43

    1.48

    Diameter (mm)

    0.25

    0.12

    Tensile strength (MPa)

    418.77

    525.97

  • Table 2   Flexural strength and compressive strength of the sisal fiber reinforced EPC

    Sisal fiber (vol%)

    Flexural strength (MPa)

    Coefficient of variation (%)

    Compressive strength (MPa)

    Coefficient of variation (%)

    0

    15.45±0.77

    4.33

    59.61±1.21

    2.86

    0.12

    16.62±0.30

    1.60

    58.32±2.95

    4.48

    0.24

    16.78±0.18

    0.47

    N/A

    N/A

    0.36

    17.05±0.37

    0.80

    64.08±1.49

    2.07

    0.48

    15.49±0.29

    1.02

    N/A

    N/A

    0.60

    14.56±0.81

    5.22

    40.32±2.63

    5.73

  • Table 3   Flexural strength and compressive strength of the ramie fiber reinforced EPC

    Ramie fiber (vol%)

    Flexural strength (MPa)

    Coefficient of variation (%)

    Compressive strength (MPa)

    Coefficient of variation (%)

    0

    15.45±0.77

    4.33

    59.61±1.21

    2.86

    0.12

    17.62±1.34

    6.99

    60.99±1.14

    1.71

    0.24

    18.25±0.67

    3.21

    N/A

    N/A

    0.36

    19.36±0.85

    4.37

    63.15±2.29

    3.15

    0.48

    16.54±0.42

    1.96

    N/A

    N/A

    0.60

    16.09±1.04

    5.70

    58.91±1.44

    2.38

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