Advancement in materials science and engineering is driven mainly by the need to produce lightweight materials that are comparable in performance to their contemporaries. There is recently an increased concern for the development of not only well-designed but also sustainable materials. In this respect, indigenous agro-resources would be a smart alternative for lightweight and disposable green-materials at low cost. Natural resources and thereby biomass, agro-waste materials and trade crops including kenaf, oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) and wood wastes are plentiful in Malaysia. The dimensional stability and mechanical properties of EFB-filled polyurethane foam composites with different filler loadings have been investigated by another research group. Unfortunately, only limited scientific information on natural fiber (NF)-filled polyurethane (PU) for shock cushioning applications is available. This research is intended to develop and investigate the shock absorption properties of kenaf filled polypropylene (rigid composite) and wood fiber-filled PU foam composites. Foamed composite samples with different fiber sizes, fiber loadings and cell counts will be fabricated using existing blending and foaming technologies. The shock absorption and impact resilience characteristics of the bio-based foam composites will be determined using experimental response spectrum methods as a function of temperature and humidity. The proposed research is expected to provide useful fundamental knowledge on the manufacturability and processing parameters, and the shock absorption and cushioning characteristics of the bio-based PU foam composites. A judicious selection of an optimum formulation and foam structure can then be based on the attainment of desired mechanical properties and cushioning characteristics of the bio-based PU foam composites. Among others, the proposed project has the potential to help develop the science and engineering aspects of converting and utilizing Malaysian agro-waste resources for the growing bio-based packaging materials market.
VALLIYAPPAN DAVID NATARAJAN, PhD (Head) [email protected]
PROF. IR. DR. MOHD NOR BERHAN
DR. ING. SHAHRUL AZAM ABDULLAH