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Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch Fibres and Biopolymer Composites: Possible Effects of Moisture on the Elasticity, Fracture Properties and Reliability
Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is a widely cultivated tropical tree from which the mesocarp (reddish pulp), a part of the fruit of the tree, is processed to yield edible vegetable oil. However, the process generates a significant amount of oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB), which is regarded as a biowaste. Since the OPEFB contain a lot of fibres, this has led to several studies to investigate its properties for reinforcing engineering materials. Designating OPEFB fibres for fibre reinforced composite applications makes good economic sense because these fibres are renewable, biodegradable and cheaper than man-made fibres. This chapter discusses the mechanics of oil palm fibres based on findings from recent studies carried out by the authors as well as from the literature. The focus is on the effects of moisture on the mechanical properties of the fibres. The findings are applied to establish arguments for designing OPEFB fibre reinforced biopolymer composites such as starch-based composites.
Journal/Conference/Book titleGreen Biocomposites