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Materials 2018, 11(3), 418; doi:10.3390/ma11030418

Energy Absorption Capacity in Natural Fiber Reinforcement Composites Structures

Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica y Minera, Campus las Lagunillas, Universidad de Jaén, 23071 Jaén, Spain
Institute for Composite Materials (IVW), Kaiserslautern University of Technology, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Transport Applications)


The study of natural fiber reinforcement composite structures has focused the attention of the automobile industry due to the new regulation in relation to the recyclability and the reusability of the materials preserving and/or improving the mechanical characteristics. The influence of different parameters on the material behavior of natural fiber reinforced plastic structures has been investigated, showing the potential for transport application in energy absorbing structures. Two different woven fabrics (twill and hopsack) made of flax fibers as well as a non-woven mat made of a mixture of hemp and kenaf fibers were employed as reinforcing materials. These reinforcing textiles were impregnated with both HD-PE (high-density polyethylen) and PLA (polylactic acid) matrix, using a continuous compression molding press. The impregnated semi-finished laminates (so-called organic sheets) were thermoformed in a second step to half-tubes that were assembled through vibration-welding process to cylindric crash absorbers. The specimens were loaded by compression to determine the specific energy absorption capacity. Quasi-static test results were compared to dynamic test data obtained on a catapult arrangement. The differences on the specific energies absorption (SEA) as a function of different parameters, such as the wall thickness, the weave material type, the reinforced textiles, and the matrix used, depending on the velocity rate application were quantified. In the case of quasi-static analysis it is observed a 20% increment in the SEA value when wove Hopsack fabric reinforcement is employed. No velocity rate influence from the material was observed on the SEA evaluation at higher speeds used to perform the experiments. The influence of the weave configuration (Hopsack) seems to be more stable against buckling effects at low loading rates with 10% higher SEA values. An increase of SEA level of up to 72% for PLA matrix was observed when compared with HD-PE matrix. View Full-Text
Keywords: crash absorption; structural material; impact behavior; natural fiber; specific energy absorption crash absorption; structural material; impact behavior; natural fiber; specific energy absorption

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

López-Alba, E.; Schmeer, S.; Díaz, F. Energy Absorption Capacity in Natural Fiber Reinforcement Composites Structures. Materials 2018, 11, 418.

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