Tensile Properties and Fractographic Analysis of Low Density Polyethylene Composites Reinforced with Chemically Modified Keratin-Based Biofibres


This research has investigated the tensile properties and fractography of animal fibre-reinforced low density polyethylene composites. The composites were synthesized by hot compression moulding using chemically modified white and black cow hair biofibres as the reinforcing phase of composites. Alkaline solutions of varying molarities were used to prepare the chemical treatments in this present study. Tensile properties of the developed composites were evaluated based on molarities of chemical treatment and % fibre loading. Scanning electron microscopy was used to characterize the morphologies of the fractured surfaces of composites. Obtained tensile test results revealed significant enhancement in the tensile properties of composites, with the optimum combination of tensile properties presented by 2 wt% white cow hair biofibre reinforcement treated with 0.15 M sodium hydroxide. Observations from the fractographic analysis of the developed composites revealed shearing of the polymer matrix at the fibre-matrix interface and no fibre pullout behaviour.

Share and Cite:

Oladele, I. , Olajide, J. , Agbabiaka, O. and Akinwumi, O. (2015) Tensile Properties and Fractographic Analysis of Low Density Polyethylene Composites Reinforced with Chemically Modified Keratin-Based Biofibres. Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, 3, 344-352. doi: 10.4236/jmmce.2015.34037.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Valesco, M.V.R., Dias, T.C., Zanardi de Feritas, A., Vieira Junior, N.D., Pinto, C.A.S., Kaneko, T.M. and Baby A.R. (2009) Hair Fibre Characteristics and Methods to Evaluate Hair Physical and Mechanical Properties. Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, 45, 153-156.
[2] Seshadri, I. and Bhushan, B. (2008) In Situ Tensile Deformation Characterization of Human Hair with Atomic Force Microscopy. Acta Materiala, 56, 774-781.
[3] Dias, M.F.R.G. (2015) Hair Cosmetics: An Overview. International Journal of Trichology, 7, 2-15.
[4] Khan, I., Maldonado, E., Vasconcelos, V., J O’Brien, S., Johnson. W.E. and Antunes, A. (2014) Mammalian Keratin Associated Proteins (KRTAPs) Subgenomes: Disentangling Hair Diversity and Adaptation to Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments. BMC Genomics, 15, 779.
[5] Yang, F., Zhang, Y. and Rheinstadter, M.C. (2014) The Structure of People’s Hair. PeerJ, 2, e619.
[6] Ramot, Y. and Zlotogorski, A. (2015) Keratin: The Hair Shaft’s Backbone Revealed. Experimental Dermatology, 24, 416-417. http://dx.doi.org/10.111/exd.12654
[7] Sinclair, D.R. (2007) Healthy Hair: What Is It? Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, 12, 2-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.jidsymp.5650046
[8] McMullen, R. and Jachowicz, J. (1998) Thermal Degradation of Hair. I. Effect of Curling Irons. Journal of Cosmetic Science, 49, 223-244.
[9] Nagasawa, T., Suzuki, H., Koyama, M., Sato, T., Kawamura, K. and Yamaguchi, Y. (2013) Development of a Novel Penetration-Enhancing Agent for Hair Products. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 3, 129-134. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jcdsa.2013.31020
[10] Oladele, I.O., Olajide, J.L. and Ogunbadejo, A.S. (2015) Effect of Chemical Treatments on the Physicochemical and Tensile Properties of Cow Hair Fibres for Low Load Bearing Composites Development. International Journal of Materials Science and Applications, 4, 189-197.
[11] Batebi, Y., Mirzagoltabar, A., Shabanian, S.M. and Fateri, S. (2013) Experimental Investigation of Shrinkage of Nano Hair Reinforced Concrete. Iranica Journal of Energy & Environment, Special Issue on Nanotechnology, 4, 68-72.
[12] Oladele, I.O., Omotoyinbo, J.A. and Ayemidejor, S.H. (2014) Mechanical Properties of Chicken Feather and Cow Hair Fibre Reinforced High Density Polyethylene Composites. International Journal of Science and Technology, 3, 66-71.
[13] (2015) Brief History of Concrete. http://www.djc.com/special/concrete/10003364.htm
[14] Erdogmus, E. (2015) Use of Fiber-Reinforced Cements in Masonry Construction and Structural Rehabilitation: Review. Fibers, 3, 41-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/fib3010041
[15] Gani, M.S.J. (1997) Cement and Concrete. Chapman & Hall, London.
[16] NIIR Board of Consultants and Engineers (2006) The Complete Technology Book on Fibre Glass, Optical Glass and Reinforced Plastics. Asian Pacific Business Press Inc., Delhi.
[17] Masuelli, M.A. (2013) Introduction of Fibre-Reinforced Polymers-Polymer and Composites: Concepts, Properties and Process. InTech, Croatia, 1-24.
[18] Hardin, A.L. (1990) Industry Structure and the Marketing of Synthetic Fibres. Business and Economic History, Second Series, 19, 213-222.
[19] Fowler, P.A., Hughes, J.M. and Elias, R.M. (2006) Review Biocomposites: Technology, Environmental Credentials and Market Forces. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 86, 1781-1789.
[20] Liu, Y., Yu, X., Li, J., Fan, J., Wang, M., Lei, T., Liu, J. and Huang, D. (2015) Fabrication and Properties of High- Content Keratin/Poly (Ethylene Oxide) Blend Nanofibers Using Two-Step Cross-Linking Process. Journal of Nanomaterials, 2015, Article ID: 803937. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/803937
[21] Barone, J.R. and Schmidt, W.F. (2004) Polyethylene Reinforced with Keratin Fibers Obtained from Chicken Feathers. Composites Science and Technology, 65, 173-181.
[22] Dwivedi, A.K., Darbari, A.S. and Verma, V.K. (2015) Compressive Strength Evaluation of Human Hair and Polypropylene Fabricated Reinforced Composite. The International Journal of Engineering and Science, 4, 88-91.
[23] Oladele, I.O., Olajide, J.L. and Ogunbadejo, A.S. (2015) The Influence of Chemical Treatment on the Mechanical Behaviour of Animal Fibre-Reinforced High Density Polyethylene Composites. American Journal of Engineering Research, 4, 19-26.
[24] Dynalab Corp (2015) Plastic Properties of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE).
[25] Ceresana Market Intelligence. Consulting (2015) Market Study: Polyethylene LDPE. 2nd Edition.
[26] United Plastic Components (2015) LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene).
[27] Plastixportal, Plastics & Packaging Directory (2015) Low Density Polyethylene Material Properties.
[28] Jahan, A., Rahman, M.M., Kabir, H., Kabir, M., Ahmed, F., Hossain, M. and Gafur, M. (2013) Optical, Electrical and Thermal Properties of Jute and Glass Fiber Reinforced LDPE Composites. International Journal of Basic and Applied Science, 2, 482-490.
[29] Shamsuri, A.A., Azid, M.K.A., Ariff, A.H.M. and Sudari, A.K. (2014) Influence of Surface Treatment on Tensile Properties of Low-Density Polyethylene/Cellulose Woven Biocomposites: A Preliminary Study. Polymers, 6, 2345- 2356. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/polym6092345
[30] Sabet, M. and Soleimani, H. (2014) Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Low Density Polyethylene Filled with Carbon Nanotubes. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 64, Article ID: 012001. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1757-899x/64/1/012001
[31] GEMS (Growth & Employment in States) (2012) Brief: Transforming the Nigerian Beef Industry. http://www.gemsnigeria.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/GEMS1Brief_BeefIndustryTransformation-4page.pdf
[32] FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) (1985) Manual for the Slaughter of Small Ruminants in Developing Countries: Slaughtering Practices and Techniques. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper, Chap. 6, 49.
[33] Gounna Corp (2013) Expert Urges Govt, Others to Embrace Local Content.
[34] Li, X., Tabil, L.G. and Panigrahi, S. (2007) Chemical Treatments of Natural Fibers for Use in Natural Fiber-Reinforced Composites: A Review. Journals of Polymers and the Environment, 15, 25-33.
[35] Olayemi, I.K., Idris, B., Ejima, I.A.A., Adeniyi, K., Ukubuiwe, A.C. and Isah, B. (2014) The Climate of North-Central Nigeria and Potential Influence on Mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) Vectorial Capacity, for Disease Transmission. Global Journal of Multidisciplinary and Applied Sciences, 2, 26-31.
[36] ASTM D412 (1983) Standard Test Methods for Vulcanized Rubber and Thermoplastic Elastomers-Tension. American Society for Testing and Materials.
[37] Ramadevi, P., Sampathkumar, D., Srinivasa, C.V. and Bennehalli, B. (2012) Effect of Alkali Treatment on Water Absorption of Single Cellulosic Abaca Fiber. BioResources, 7, 3515-3524.
[38] Farsi, M. (2012) Thermoplastic Matrix Reinforced with Natural Fibers: A Study on Interfacial Behavior, Some Critical Issues for Injection Molding. In: Wang, J., Ed., Some Critical Issues for Injection Molding, Chap. 10, InTech, 225-250. http://www.cdn.intechopen.com/pdf-wm/33652.pdf
[39] Fuentes, C., Brughmans, G., Tran, L.Q.N., Dupont, C., Verpoest, I. and Vuure, A.W.V. (2015) Mechanical Behaviour and Practical Adhesion at a Bamboo Composite Interface: Physical Adhesion and Mechanical Intrlocking. Composites Science and Technology, 109, 40-47.
[40] Lin, T., Jia, D., He, P., Wang, M. and Liang, D. (2008) Effects of Fiber Length on Mechanical Properties and Fracture Behaviour of Short Carbon Fiber Reinforced Geopolymer Matrix Composites. Materials Science and Engineering, 494, 181-185. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msea.2008.06.040
[41] Amuthakkannan, P., Manikandan, V., Winowlin Jappes, J.T. and Uthayakumar, M. (2013) Effect of Fibre Length on Mechanical Properties of Short Basalt Fibre Reinforced Polymer Matrix Composites. Materials Physics and Mechanics, 16, 107-117.
[42] Gibson, R.F. (1994) Principles of Composite Material Mechanics. McGraw-Hill Inc., St. Louis.
[43] Kaw, A.K. (2006) Mechanics of Composite Materials. 2nd Edition, Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton.
[44] Boresi, A.P. and Schmidt, R.J. (2003) Advanced Mechanics of Materials. 6th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
[45] Greenhalgh, E.S. (2009) Failure Analysis and Fractography of Polymer Composites. Woodhead, Cambridge.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.