Application of Pineapple Leaf Fiber in Automotive Industry

 

Abstract
Composite materials are become popular in the field of technical textile to produce sophisticated and qualitative products to meet the global customer demand in the past few decades. At present, composite materials are being utilized in applications such as apparel industry, automotive industry, aircraft industry, aerospace industry, marine applications, sporting goods, roofing structures, chemical industries, transportation, logistics industries, interior design, wind energy, electronics and so on. European automotive manufacturing industries first realized the importance of natural fibre composites material. They have utilized the natural fibres like hemp, flax, jute and sisal for creating the thermoplastic and thermosetting matrices for door panels, dashboards, headliners, seat backs, package trays and interior components. Among composites material, pineapple leaf fibre-reinforced polymer composites are playing a vital role in manufacturing the automotive industry.

Pineapple leaf fiber processing
Fig: Pineapple leaf fiber processing

Pineapple Leaf Fibres (PALF)
Pineapple is a popular delicious fruit. It is a perennial crop which is cultivated for its fruit. The pineapple plant does not have any use after harvesting of the fruit. These pineapple leaves generate huge unutilized agricultural waste. Different approaches are adopted to manage these organic wastes.

The pineapple leaves are purchased from local farmers. This helps farmer to earn extra income instead of discarding the leaves as waste. In this approach, more emphasis has been placed to explore different ways of fiber extraction and convert them into value-added products.

The fiber extracted from leaves of pineapple plant is called pineapple PALF. PALF is also known as pina-fibre. The pina fiber is mostly sourced from Thailand. Cause, Thailand is the world’s 4th largest pineapple producer approximately produces 2.1 million tonnes per year. It is also the world’s top producer of smooth cayenne. It is a special type of pineapple with extra-smooth leaves, yielding superior quality fibres.

Leading countries in pineapple production worldwide in 2018
Graph: Leading countries in pineapple production worldwide in 2018

PALF-blended yarns are potentially used in various textile applications such as apparels, curtains, footwear, along with different industrial textiles, medical textiles, fashion textiles, automotive textile industry and so on.

Chemical Properties of Pineapple Leaf Fiber Composites

Cellulose (wt%):

70–82

Lignin (wt%):

5–12

Hemicellulose (wt%): 

Pectin (wt%):

Microfibrillar-spiral angle (°):

14

Moisture content (wt%):

11.8

Process of Pineapple Leaf Fiber Extraction
Pineapple leaf fibres can be extracted by two steps. They are discussed as follows:

1. Manual method: Manual method is that the traditional method of scraping is finished by painstaking task and required skilful labour. In manual process, the initial step is mixing of layered fibres in water for about 20 days to become saturated. The manual procedure begins with shredding through beating, scraping and husking the leaves. During this step, microorganisms play a significant role in removing the unwanted material, gummy substance and separating the fibres. After this procedure, fibres are cleaned. Then the fibers are naturally dried.

2. Mechanical method: The mechanical method is administrated by the leaves area unit fed through the feed rollers. That is passed through a series of scratching rollers. The pineapple leaves sides are scraped by scratching roller skates to dispose of the waxy layer. Then, it gone through the toothed roller. There it closely fitted cutting edges of roller macerates. The pineapple leaf delivers with numerous breaks on its surface for easy passage of retting micro-organisms.

Advantages of Pineapple Leaf Fiber:
The advantages of Pineapple Leaf Fibre PALF are below:

  1. Light-in-weight, low density, low cost.
  2. Contains high cellulose content almost 80%.
  3. Nontoxic or, non-poisonous.
  4. Easy to handle.
  5. Separation of fibres is free from hazard.
  6. Enhanced energy recovery.
  7. Acceptable specific strength properties.
  8. High toughness.
  9. High crystallinity.
  10. Possesses sensible thermal properties.
  11. Ecological and economic benefited.
  12. Eco friendly and Bio-degradable, etc.

Why Pineapple Leaf Fiber Becomes Popular in Automotive Industry?
Pineapple Leaf fiber are lingo-cellulosic fibers. It contains fibers with low density. It’s widely preferred for the fabrication of reinforced polyethylene composites. Electro-microscope analysis proves that, fibers are well oriented during the composite fabrication addition to fiber damage and breakage during melt mixing. Therefore, the stress-strain behaviour in tension is pure polyester is brittle, and with the addition of fillers makes the matrix more ductile.

PALF is used in automotive industry due to its rich cellulose content, abundant availability and cheap cost. After we compared pineapple leaf fiber to metals, the composite materials utilization is widely because of its high strength to weight ratios and high modulus to weight ratio. PALF offers new opportunities for automotive industry to design lightweight, easy mold-able, improved aesthetics, strong and inexpensive products, etc. As a result, Pineapple leaf fiber composites has a wide range of applications in automotive industries, such as manufacturing of dashboards, package trays, door panels, headliners, seats, seat backs, interior parts and many other parts.

Application of Pineapple Leaf Fiber in Automotive Industry
In automotive industry, the most significant factors to consider are: correct selection of materials for design and manufacturing for fuel efficiency, low cost, lightweight, durability, stylish design passenger safety, durability, recyclability and others life cycle considerations. Due to environmental protection automotive industry replaced the usage of synthetic fibres with PALF fibres.

Application of pineapple fiber in automotive industry
Fig: Application of pineapple fiber in automotive industry

For achieving those, in 1930, the first natural fibre-based composites were manufactured for automotive car body parts by the Ford Motor Company. Later, other automotive manufacturing companies such as: BMW group, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Tata Motors are also concentrated on using natural fiber reinforced composites (NFRCs).

Applications of pineapple leaf fibre composites on the interior and exterior components of automotive are:

  1. Door panels both on front and back,
  2. Headliner panels,
  3. Head restraints,
  4. Seat backs,
  5. Seat bottoms,
  6. Seatback linings,
  7. Boot lining,
  8. Noise insulation panels,
  9. Windshield,
  10. Dashboard,
  11. Business table,
  12. Pillar cowl panel,
  13. Door trim,
  14. Door protective cover,
  15. Door panel inserts,
  16. Sun visor,
  17. Floor panels,
  18. Back cushions,
  19. Below floor body panels,
  20. B-pillar,
  21. Moulded foot well linings,
  22. Sliding door inserts,
  23. Speed indicator gears,
  24. Roof cover,
  25. Steering column bush,
  26. Hat racks,
  27. Spare tyre lining,
  28. Front fork bush,
  29. Internal engine cover,
  30. Engine insulation,
  31. Oil filter housing,
  32. Electrical junction box,
  33. Bumper,
  34. Wheel box,
  35. Packing trays,
  36. Interior insulation,
  37. Insulation,
  38. Rear storage shelf or panel,
  39. Seat cushioning,
  40. Natural foams,
  41. Lading floor tray,
  42. Boot lid finish panel and many others different components.

Table: Applications of natural fibre composites on automotive industries

Automotive manufacturer

Applications

Audi

Seat backs, boot lining, hat rack, side and back door panels,  spare tyre lining

BMW

Door panels, headliner panel, boot lining, seat backs, bumper, wheel box, noise insulation panels, moulded foot well linings

Citroen

Interior door panelling, roof cover

Daimler-Chrysler

Door panels, windshield, dashboard, boot lid finish panel, , business table, roof cover, sun visor, pillar cover panel

Fiat

Oil filter housing, electrical junction box, bumper, wheel box, roof cover,

Ford

Door panels, B-pillar, pillar cover panel, boot line

Jeep

Door panel inserts, sun visor, interior insulation, insulation, rear storage shelf

Kia

Seat backs, boot lining, hat racks, spare tyre lining, noise insulation panels

Mahindra

Seat padding, natural foams, cargo floor tray, boot lid finish panel

Mercedes-Benz

Internal engine cover, engine insulation, sun visor, interior insulation

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi

Niasan

Bumper, wheel box, windshield, dashboard

Renault

Rear parcel shelf, internal engine cover

Rover

Insulation, rear storage panel

Scania

Seat padding, natural foams, cargo floor tray, boot lid finish panel

Skoda

Under floor body panels, B-pillar, sliding door inserts, speedometer gears, steering column bush, front fork bush

Toyota

Door panels, seat backs, spare tyre cover, windshield, dashboard, business table, pillar cover panel, door cladding

TATA Motors

Door panels, headliner panels, seat backs, boot lining

Volkswagen

Door panel, seat back, boot lid finish panel, boot liner

Volvo

Seat padding, natural foams, front fork bush, internal engine cover, engine insulation cargo floor tray

Conclusion
The pineapple leaf fiber composites are more significant materials for replacement of the non-renewable synthetic fibres. Pineapple leaf fibers bolstered composites have several attractive features and benefits, such as: eco friendly, biodegradability, low cost, tenuity and easy mould-ability and so on. But still, research needs to on the pineapple leaf fiber to expand the widely utilized in the automotive sector.

References

  1. Pineapple Leaf Fibers: Processing, Properties and Applications by Mohammad Jawaid, Mohammad Asim, Paridah Md. Tahir, Mohammed Nasir
  2. M. Asim, Khalina Abdan, M. Jawaid, M. Nasir, Zahra Dashtizadeh, M. R. Ishak, and M. Enamul Hoque “A Review on Pineapple Leaves Fibre and Its Composites” https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/950567
  3. Mazumdar S (2001) Composites manufacturing: materials, product, and process engineering. CRC Press, Boca Raton
  4. https://www.textileblog.com/properties-extraction-and-uses-of-pineapple-leaf-fiber/
  5. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-287-742-0_3
  6. https://nextevo.one/pineapple-leaf-fibre/
  7. https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/pineapple-leaf-fibers/17700506

Author of this Article:
Md. Mahedi Hasan
B.Sc. in Textile Engineering
Textile Engineering College, Noakhali.
Email: mh18.bd@gmail.com

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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant, entrepreneur, blogger and researcher on online business promotion. He is working as a consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.


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