Suitability of surface-treated flax and hemp fibers for concrete reinforcement
da Costa Santos, Ana Caroline
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The use of vegetable fibres as a sustainable alternative to non-natural sources of fibres applied for concrete reinforcement has been studied for over three decades. The main issues about plant-based fibres pointed out by other authors are the variability in their properties and concerns about potential high biodegradability in the alkaline pH of the concrete matrix. Aiming to minimise the variability of flax and hemp fibres, this research compares a range of chemical surface treatments, analysing their effects on the behaviour of the fibres and the effects of their addition to concrete. Corroborating what has been found by other authors, the treatment using NaOH 10% for 24 h was able to enhance the properties of hemp fibre-reinforced concrete and reduce the degradability in alkaline solution. For flax fibres, a novel alternative stood out: treatment using 1% of stearic acid in ethanol for 4 h. Treatment using this solution increased the tensile by 101%, causing a minor effect on the elastic modulus. Concrete mixes reinforced with the treated flax fibres presented reduced thermal conductivity and elastic modulus and increased residual tensile strength and fracture energy.
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