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International Journal of Advances in Scientific Research and Engineering-IJASRE
EVALUATION OF THE SUITABILITY OF OIL PALM FRUIT BUNCH STALK FIBRE FOR LAGGING OF HOT FOOD CONTAINERS
Article Category: Mechanical Engineering
Author: AKABA ABDUL T,ADEMOH NUHU A,AUWAL MUHAMMED ,ABDULLAHI IDRIS B
Abstract: Oil palm fruit bunch stalk fibres obtained after the harvest from a plantation located at Offa, Nigeria. These fibers were treated with 5% NaOH aqueous solution, used to reinforce polypropylene polymer and investigated for thermal insulation of hot food carrying flasks. Treated fibres were loaded in concentrations by weights of 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% as filler into polypropylene matrix, fabricated into composites with an injection moulding machine with specimen of each formulation analysed for chemical, physical, mechanical and thermal properties including density, hardness, impact/tensile strengths, thermo-gravimetric and thermal conductivity using standard test equipment to ascertain the suitability for heat resisting application. Test equipment included Lee’s disc apparatus, Perkin Elmer instrument, Instron tensile, Tinius impact and Rockwell hardness testers accessed in workshops and laboratories in Nigeria. The characterization result showed the composite as nontoxic to humans if it contacted food in the flask. The physical, mechanical and thermal properties showed that only 20%-40% fibre loading was beneficial after which performance declined. Mechanical properties of bunch stalk reinforced composites (density, hardness, impact and tensile strength) were adequate for the service conditions. The decomposition temperature of composites was about 4800C which was above 3500C-4350C for most conventional domestic insulators, 2810C for pure treated bunch stalk fibre and 4350C for polypropylene matrix. Thermal conductivity reduced from 0.11- 0.23Wm-1K-1for polypropylene matrix to 0.0025Wm-1K-1 for 40% 10mm thick fibre loaded composite while it was 0.066Wm-1K-1 for 50mm thick rock wool, 0.036Wm-1K-1 for glass fibre and 0.03Wm-1K-1 for polystyrene used as conventional domestic insulators. This confirmed superiority of the fruit bunch stalk reinforced composites as for thermal insulation application over common domestic insulators.
Keyword: Palm bunch stalk fibre, Composite, Thermal insulator, Food flask, Thermo gravimetric analysis.
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