We describe how the mechanical properties of natural fibre composites can be improved by precipitating coral-like coatings to the surfaces of reinforcing fibres. We consider three amino-acid templates (l-lysine, glycine and -alanine) on calcium carbonate growth to natural fibres. l-Lysine forms reticulate flower-like crystals, -alanine forms globular crystals and glycine forms blocky crystals. These coralised fibres are used to reinforce styrene butadiene rubber and when compared against untreated-fibre reinforced composites; we find that at sufficiently high concentrations l-lysine templated mineral coatings improve composite strength by more than 100%. Contrarily, -alanine and glycine templated mineral coatings do not improve the composite strength by more than ca. 60% and ca. 40% respectively. Molecular dynamics simulations elucidate the attachment mechanisms for each amino acid and the highest potential is in the l-lysine templated crystals. Finite element analyses reveal the success of l-lysine templated coatings is due to a heightened fibre tractive resistance.
|Journal||Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|