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Nanoscale characterization of natural fibers and their composites using contact resonance force microscopy



Donna C. Hurley, Sandeep S. Nair, Siqun Wang


In this study, contact resonance force microscopy (CR-FM) has been used for the first time to evaluate the mechanical properties of the interphase in natural fiber-reinforced composites and of cell wall layers of natural fibers. With CR-FM, quantitative images (maps) were acquired of the spatial distribution in nanoscale elastic properties. The images were calibrated with nanoindentation values for the indentation modulus. From analysis of the modulus maps for fiber-reinforced composite samples, the average interphase width was found to be (49 ± 5) nm for a natural fiber-reinforced polymer composite without any treatment, and (139 ± 21) nm for one with a maleic anhydride polypropylene treatment. There was a gradient of modulus across the interphase region that ranged between the modulus values of fiber and the polymer. The average value of indentation modulus obtained with CR-FM for different cell wall layers within a fiber were 22.5 GPa to 28.0 GPa, 17.9 GPa to 20.2 GPa, and 15.0 GPa to 15.5 GPa for the S2 and S1 layers and the compound middle lamellae, respectively.
Composites Science and Technology


Natural fiber-reinforced composites, composite interphase, contact stiffness, indentation modulus


Hurley, D. , Nair, S. and Wang, S. (2010), Nanoscale characterization of natural fibers and their composites using contact resonance force microscopy, Composites Science and Technology, [online], (Accessed July 18, 2024)


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Created May 1, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017