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Strength and fracture toughness of earth-based natural fiber-reinforced composites

Author(s): Mustapha, Kabiru; Annan, Ebenezer; Azeko, Salifu T; Zebaze Kana, Martiale G; Soboyejo, Winston O

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Abstract: This paper presents the results of a combined experimental and theoretical study of the strength, fracture toughness, and resistance-curve behavior of natural fiber-reinforced earth-based composite materials. The composites, which consist of mixtures of laterite, clay, and straw, are stabilized with controlled levels of Ordinary Portland cement. The compositional dependence of compressive, flexural/bend strength, and fracture toughness are explored for different proportions of the constituent materials using composites and crack-tip shielding models. The underlying crack-microstructure interactions associated with resistance-curve behavior were also studied using in situ/ex situ optical microscopy. This revealed evidence of crack bridging by the straw fibers. The measured resistance-curve behavior is also shown to be consistent with predictions from small- and large-scale bridging models. The implications of the results are then discussed for potential applications in the design of robust earth-based building materials for sustainable eco-friendly homes.
Publication Date: 2016
Citation: Mustapha, Kabiru, Ebenezer Annan, Salifu T. Azeko, Martiale G. Zebaze Kana, and Winston O. Soboyejo. "Strength and fracture toughness of earth-based natural fiber-reinforced composites." Journal of Composite Materials 50, no. 9 (2016): 1145-1160. doi: 10.1177/0021998315589769
DOI: doi:10.1177/0021998315589769
ISSN: 0021-9983
EISSN: 1530-793X
Pages: 1145 - 1160
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Composite Materials
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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