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Improvement In Compressive Behavior Of Alkali-treated Wood Fibre-reinforced Bio-based Polyurethane Foams

Li-Chi Chang, Mohini Sain, Mark Kortschot

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Alkali-treated wood fibre-reinforced polyurethane (PU) foams were fabricated with a free-rising foaming process. The surface chemistry of alkali-treated wood fibres was characterized using in situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and the fibre surface morphology was explored using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). X-ray computed tomography (CT) was performed to observe the cell structure of foams incorporating the treated wood fibres. Compression tests were conducted and the influence of treated fibres on the compressive strength and modulus of PU foam was investigated. The foams reinforced with treated fibres exhibited increase of 40% in strength and 64% in modulus. The high surface roughness and high aspect ratio of the treated fibres contributed to these improved mechanical properties through enhanced interfacial bond strengths.