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Impact behaviour of the Bertam fibers reinforced with unsaturated polyester.


Currently, in Malaysia, knowledge of the composite materials is still low and limited. The use of these composite materials is only in daily application such as decoration or housing. Exploration of natural composites are interested field because the natural fiber are green technology and recyclable at reasonable cost. Bertam fiber is a natural fiber that is no research done to study the effect of the size and dimension of fiber. However, the Bertam fronds are widely used in housing applications. In Malaysia, the fronds of Bertam usually use as wall of chalets or resorts. Moreover, fruit eaten fresh can relieve from fever, the sap from the stem is used for insect sting. The leaves are used as thatch and the leaf for fish traps and fishing poles [8].

Eugeissona is a clustering genus of flowering plants in palm family native to Malaysia, Borneo and Thailand. Eugeissona tristis known as Bertam is one of the plant in the group which is have many benefits in medical and housings sector [2,4,8]. Usually, it has 6-10 m tall large ascending leaves with a green leaflet and spiny leafstalks. Others example plants are in same species, which are oil, coconut and date palm [1]. Development of new composites using hand lay-up method requires proper setup. Usually, hand lay-up sampel have no fibres pull out, but a lot of void [7]. To determine energy absorption, fracture toughness and fracture behavior of fibers reinforced resin, the Charpy test is used [3]. The test consists of a test specimen notchs in the middle and supported at each end and then swinging pendulum is break the piece. The energy absorbed is recorded and measured the impact strength.

The research deals with the preparation and characterization of bertam leaves fibre reinforced polyester (PE) matrix based polymer composites. The mechanical properties of the combination of Bertam leaves and resin will be tudied. State-of-the-art equipment such as rotor mill, sieving machine and impact tester will be used to characterize the composite materials. The research will be conducted by reinforcing the matrix (polyester) resins with natural material (Bertam leaves). Different fiber sizes (15, 120, and 284[micro]m) will be conducted. After preparations of composite material, some of the physical testing properties (impact test) will be conducted. This fundamental research will generate information about analyzing the Bertam leaves fiber reinforced polyester characterization. The aim of this research is to prepare the composite specimens for conducting the experiment, investigate the impact strength of Bertam leaves fiber reinforced unsaturated polyester, and to optimize the properties of Bertam leaves fiber for use as reinforcement in unsaturated polyester resin by varying fiber sizes.

1. Materials and methodology:

Unsaturated polyester (Renacarb K2 brand) was obtained from Ain Medicare Sdn.Bhd, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. Bertam leaves were supplied from a small and medium enterprises (SME) company at Kedah, Malaysia. In spite of that, Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide (MEKP), (Andonox KP-9 brand) was supplied from Sweden. Unsaturated polyester was mixed hardener with ratio 1:0.5 and stirred. Then, fibers were put into the mixture. When the compound was mixed together, poured the mixture into the mould. The composites were then left to cure for about 24 hours at 25 [+ or -] 20C, and then the mould would be opened to extract the specimens. The Charpy impact test equipment was used in this study. The polymerized test specimens were cut out to standard size (53.5mm x 10mm x 5mm). The notch is usually introduced into the material specimen in order to produce a stress concentration and thus promote failure in the case of the ductile materials. The notch was made in case of all specimens tested and was used to align the Charpy specimen with respect to the simple supports of the Charpy pendulum. The dimensions of the cross-section were recorded for each specimen before impact testing. Then, the specimens were subjected to Charpy test by using the experimental stand. The impact was produced by swinging the pendulum hummer against the test specimen from a height. When it was released the hammer swung through an arc, hit the target specimen and after fracturing, it reaches a height.


Table 1 shows the effect of fiber size on the impact strength of Polyester/Bertam composite and comparison with other fibers reinforced thermoset. Regarding to the table, impact strength of Bertam fibers reinforced polyester still lower than cotton fibers but higher than empty fruit bunch reinforced polyester. In spite of that, from other researchers, the fiber treatment is one of methods that can be improved impact strength. The treatment processes can clean and rough the surface of fiber, and then adhesion will be occurred between fiber and polyester [6]. Using flexible epoxy surface treatment also can improve property of fiber reinforced composites [9]. From figure 3, it can be seen that increasing fiber size resulted in an increasing trend of the impact strength. There was a slightly increase from 15 [micro]m at the smallest fiber size to 120 [micro]m at the medium fiber size. This was followed by decreasing to 7.83kJ/m2 at the 284 [micro]m fiber size. Overall, the results show that the maximum size of fiber is 120[micro]m which is the maximum value of impact strength (12.29kJ/m2).

3. Conclusion:

This work shows that successful fabrication of Bertam fiber reinforced unsaturated polyester composites by simple hand lay-up technique. In order to assess the impact strength of naturally occurring fiber, this work deals with the impact test of Bertam fiber gotten from fronds, sieved to particle size. For impact test, the result for fiber size 120 [micro]m is the highest than fiber size 15 [micro]m and 284 [micro]m.


Article history:

Received 28 February 2014

Received in revised form 25 May 2014

Accepted 6 June 2014

Available online 20 June 2014


The authors sincerely grateful to the Malaysia Ministry of Education who has given the opportunity and financial support for this research project. This project is supported by The Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) FRGS/2/2013/TK04/UTEM/02/1.


[1] Anthony, N.A., 2013. Investigation of impact strength properties of oil and date palm frond fiber reinforced polyester composites. International Journal of Current Engineering and Technology, 3(2): 493-497.

[2] Asyraf, M. and Z. Rahmad, 2012. The distribution of palms and pandans in Teluk Bahang permanent forest reserve, Penang. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, 35(1): 85-91.

[3] Camelia, C., C. Vasile, C. Ioan and V. Cristina, 2009. Impact behavior of the composite materials randomly reinforced with E-glass fibres. In the Proceedings of the 13 th International Research/ Expert Conference, pp: 125-128.

[4] Chee, B.J., 2005. Medicinal properties and common usages of some palm species in the Kampung Peta community of Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor. Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants, 6(1): 79-83.

[5] Chiachun, T., A. Ishak and H. Muichin, 2011. Characterization of polyester composites from recycled polyethylene terephthalate reinforced with empty fruit bunch fibers. Material and Design Journal, 32: 4493- 4501.

[6] Mahmut, K. and S.I. Mistik, 2012. Investigation of mechanical properties of treated ready made garment waste reinforced polymer composites. In the Proceedings of the International Conference: Textiles & Fashion, pp: 1-3.

[7] Mohd Yuhazri, Y., P.T. Phongsakorn and S. Haeryip, 2010. A comparison process between vacuum infusion and hand lay-up method toward kenaf/polyester composites. International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 10(3): 63-66.

[8] Rozman, H.D., M.J. Saad and Z.A. Mohd Ishak, 2001. Flexural and impact properties of oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB)-polypropylene composites- the effect of maleic anhydride chemical modification of EFB. Journal of Polymer Testing, 22: 335-341.

[9] Wiphawee, N., U. Putinun and P. Weraporn, 2013. Impact property of flexible epoxy treated natural fiber reinforced PLA composites. Journal of Enery Procedia, 34: 839-847.

M.H. Norhidayah, A. Hambali and Y. Mohd Yuhazri

Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Durian Tunggal, 76100 Melaka, Malaysia

Corresponding Author: M.H. Norhidayah, Faculty of Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Durian Tunggal, 76100 Melaka, Malaysia.


Table 1: Impact strength for composite material.

No    Composite material

1               Polyester + hardener

2       BertamPolyester         15 [micro]m
                               120 [micro]m
                               284 [micro]m

3         Empty hurt             Untreated
        bunch/polyester        NaOH treated
                              Silane treated
                             Maleic anhydride

4           Cotton/              Untreated
           Polyester           NaOH treated
                             Fomuc add treated

No      Impact strength         References

1            20.46             Regarding to
                                this study
2            10.86

3             4.53             Chiachun et
              4.71              al. (2012)

4             17.1             Mahrnut and
              22.8             Mistik (2012)
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Article Details
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Author:Norhidayah, M.H.; Hambali, A.; Yuhazri, Y. Mohd
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 5, 2014
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