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Thermal Insulation Properties of Kenaf and Cotton Nonwoven Composites for Automotive Application

Val G. Yachmenev, T.A. Calamari, Jr., D.V. Parikh, Chen Yan, and Ioan I. Negulescu


There is good potential for use of vegetable fibers such as kenaf, ramie, jute, flax, and cotton in moldable nonwoven composite materials for automotive applications. Variety of automotive parts, such as headliner, wall panels, trunk liners, parcel shelves, and hood sound insulators with excellent shape stability can be manufactured by conventional techniques. The composites of these fibers have high tensile and flexural properties, coupled with economic and environmental benefits. Four sets of nonwoven materials were produced from refined kenaf fibers, other vegetable fibers and their blends with recycled polyester and polypropylene. The thermal insulation properties of the nonwoven composites were determined by the steady-state heat flow method, in accordance with ASTM C518, using the new thermal conductivity meter. The experimental data show that thermal insulation properties of the nonwoven composites vary significantly, depending on the type of cellulosic fiber, the pretreatment of fibers, ratio of cellulosic to synthetic fibers, and overall densities of the composite.

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Document last modified 04/27/04