Production of Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites from Treated and Untreated Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) for Ceiling Tiles

Topics: Composite material, Thermoplastic, Tensile strength Pages: 34 (5455 words) Published: February 25, 2014

The Problem and Its background


The growing interest in the past to produce green materials that can reduce the problem involving waste materials by non-fibrous materials led to the development of natural fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites. Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) also known as “water lily” is an aquatic plant which is found floating freely in the surface of fresh waters. Its rate of proliferation under certain circumstances is extremely rapid and cause infestations over large areas of water leading to a variety of problems. Hence, water hyacinth can be obtained without any additional cost. Water hyacinth is considered the most productive plant on earth as it yields more than 200 tons of dry matter per hectare per year under normal conditions. On water containing high concentrations of sewage, it yields up to 657 tons of dry matter per hectare. Water hyacinth fiber, the subject of the present study, is a waste product and found to be a potential for reinforcement in plastics.

Recently, a lot of researches produced fiber reinforced materials. Reinforcements with polyethylene, polypropylene and other thermoplastic polymers are mixed to produce efficient composites. Natural fibers including wood, kenaf, coir, pineapple, rice starch and etc. are used to combine with the polymers. Addition of fibers in the materials will affect the mechanical, thermal and water absorbent properties. Although, many researchers experimented with different types of organic materials, there have been a few studies on water hyacinth and its fibers.

A fiber based biocomposite material contains polymers reinforced with natural fiber using natural fibers in biocomposites has various advantages, among which are: a) the material made from natural fibers will make it partially biodegradable; b) some fiber-based composites is somewhat expensive to make; c) natural fiber, in this research water hyacinth, is currently disposed and just decompose if not used. Likewise, Table 1.1 shows some advantages of commercial composites as well as its disadvantages resulted from the study conducted by Peter (2002).

Table 1.1: List of Advantages and Disadvantages of Comm. Composites. (Peter, 2002)


Longer life (no corrosion ),better fatigue life
Matrix Weakness

Reduced weight
Difficult to attach

Reduced manufacturing costs
Non-destructive testing tedious

Increased/Decreased thermal or electrical
Transverse properties may be weak


One good application of fiber reinforced thermoplastic is possible for ceiling tiles. Ceiling tiles are lightweight, inexpensive and attractive and can be used in a variety of ways: crafts, photo backdrops, sound control, wall decor and more.

The researchers will be utilized water hyacinth fibers as thermoplastic composites for ceiling tiles.

Figure 1.1 Commercial Ceiling Insulation System


This study aimed to produce reinforced thermoplastic ceiling tiles using water hyacinth (Eicchorniacrassipes) fiber by compression molding.

Specifically it aimed to:

1. Produce fiber reinforced thermoplastic treated and untreated with coupling agent from fibers of water hyacinth (Eicchorniacrassipes).

1.1 0% (control)

1.2 10% fiber mix

1.3 20% fiber mix

1.4 30% fiber mix

2. Determine the physical and mechanical properties of the fiber reinforced thermoplastic ceiling tiles treated and untreated with coupling agent.

2.1Tensile strength

2.2 Water absorption

2.3 Flame Retardancy

3. Identify the product with the best physical and mechanical properties will be compared to thecommercially available plywood.


Here in the Philippines, particularly in Laguna de Bay, water hyacinth is considered a nuisance. “These...
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