Economic Opportunities in Natural Fiber-Thermoplastic Composites

  • Roger M. Rowell


Combining agro-fibers (lignocellulosics) with other resources provides a strategy for producing advanced composite materials that take advantage of the properties of both types of resources. It allows the scientist to design materials based on end-use requirements within a framework of cost, availability, recyclability, energy use, and environmental considerations. Lignocellulosic resources have low densities, are low in cost, renewable, non-abrasive, have excellent specific mechanical properties, and are potentially outstanding reinforcing fillers in thermoplastic composites. The specific tensile and flexural moduli, for example, of a 50% by volume of kenaf-PP composite compares favorably with a 40 % by weight of glass fiber-PP injection molded composite. These new composite materials are finding new applications and new markets never before envisioned by the agro-based industry.


Injection Molding Natural Fiber Wood Flour Thermoplastic Composite Mechanical Properlies 
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  3. Sanadi, A.R., Caulfield, D.F., Jacobson, R.E., and Rowell, R. M., (In Press). Renewable Agricultural Fibers as Reinforcing Fillers in Plastics: Mechanical properties of Kenaf Fiber-Polypropylene composites. Indust. Eng. Chem. Research.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger M. Rowell
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA Forest ServiceForest Products LaboratoryMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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