(1) Biocomposite Technology & Design
Head of Programme : Dr. Norkhairunnisa Mazlan
This research programmeaims to produce high performance biocomposites (HPB) products from plant-based fibers using high technology & analysis equipment. The R&D in HPB is becoming very important particularly in automotive industry where significant amount of car components have been made from plant fibres. Lately, both defence and aerospace industries have shown interests in using plant fibres as their non-load bearing components through the development of woven technique for technical textile and pultrusion process for truck decking, flooring and other structural applications to replace man-made fibre such as glass and aramid fibers. HPB research at UPM offers the whole value chain, starting from fibre characterization to processing and product development and to economic valuation of the products.
Biocomposites are emerging as the replacement to synthetic fiber reinforced composites. They are environmentally friendly and help to eradicate the increasing cost of using petroleum-based materials. Bio-fibers offer many advantages such as renewability, recyclability, biodegradability, low specific gravity, and high specific strength. In addition, using bio-fibers can address the ecological and economical concerns of the industrial materials. Generally, biocomposites have received increasing attention from both of the academic world and industries as aerospace, defence, building, automotive, packaging, and so on. Among all existing applications, a high growth is clear for the building applications either structural or non-structural components. In the later stage, both Boeing and Air- Bus have identified green aeronautic materials as one of the strategic area for future research. In light of this, researchers have focused their attention on producing high performance biocomposites products which are comparable to the existing products in the market.
(2) Fibre Characterization & Processing Technology
Head of Programme : Assoc. Prof. Dr. Edi Suhaimi Bakar
This program focuses on characterization and processing optimization of wood and non-wood fibers using environmental friendly approach. Materials from plant biomass such as oil palm plantation residues, rice husks, forest exploitation and wood industries residues, palm oil processing by-products, kenaf and bamboo is processed for the production of high quality natural fiber composites. The researches in this program include characterization of fiber, permeability and gluability study, fiber properties enhancement through resin treatment, fiber pretreatment to improve its strength and adhesion, and development of retting technique for kenaf fibers in order to produce high performance bio-composite products. Further development of these applications of bio-renewable fibers for use by the industry could provide attractive new value-added markets while simultaneously replacing petrochemical-based polymer composite.
The widespread use of synthetic fibre-reinforced polymer composite has a tendency to decline because of their high-initial costs, their use in non-efficient structural forms and most importantly their adverse environmental impact. On the other hand, the increasing interest in using natural fibres as reinforcement in polymer composite to substitute conventional synthetic fibres in some structural applications has become one of the main driving factors that propel the potential development of using natural fibres as reinforcement for the polymer composite. In light of this, researchers are focusing their attention on producing high quality natural fibres by using high technology characterization and processing techniques.
Updated:: 09/12/2013 [naszroul]
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan