Research Projects

Development of Thermoset Natural Fibre Composites with High Delamination Resistance

The introduction of natural fibres can reduce polymer consumption in composites and produce a reinforced material system that provides higher mechanical performance, higher damping properties and higher toughness concurrently. Choosing suitable plant fibres over synthetic fibres like glass or carbon (fossil-derived) generate products with higher renewable content, reduced embodied production energy and therefore lower carbon footprint. 

Contact PersonTong Kin Kong, Steven(

Delamination resistance in thermoset natural fibre composites has been enhanced through a basket of techniques that combine strategies like matrix toughening with nano and micro particles, process optimization, defect minimization, and 3D reinforcement architectures. The Mode I interlaminar fracture toughness measured through the double cantilever beam test for conventional glass or carbon fibre composite is typically 600-900 J/m2. The fracture toughness of SIMTech flax/epoxy natural fibre composites range from 1000-3500 J/m2. The high toughness composites were manufactured using the relatively more economic route where dry fibre preforms are resin infused under vacuum or pressure assistance. 


Problems Addressed

The development of high performance natural fibre composites for moderate load-bearing applications had been achieved through the use of long continuous natural fibres with minimally twisted and treated yarns that preserve the mechanical strength of the fibres. However, the layered construction of such composite laminates tends to be anisotropic and suffer from low (out-of-plane) transverse properties due to the interlaminar area being bound solely by the polymer. To improve the fracture resistance between fibre layers and manage delamination crack growth, the efficiency of different toughness enhancement techniques had been studied to develop an effective strategy for countering Mode I delamination in flax/epoxy systems.