Summary

NFC as eco-friendly materials, have been emerged as an alternative to the tradi­tional glass/carbon-reinforced polymer composites. They are attractive materials for different applications like packaging, furniture, and automotive industries. Such materials have several advantages like, the low cost, acceptable mechanical proper­ties, good thermal and acoustic insulating properties, availability, CO2 sequestration enhanced energy recovery, etc. The properties and performance of the final natural fiber composites depend on the properties of both the matrix and filler as well as their interfacial bonding.

Both physical and mechanical treatment processes were performed on the cellulosic fibers to enhance the interfacial bonding characteristics of the natural fiber composites. Different factors and criteria can affect the performance of the produced natural fiber composites. Some of these criteria affect the selection of the composite constituents (matrix and fillers), whereas others can determine the final performance of the produced product of such materials. Wide range of physical, biological, mechanical, environmental as well as economic properties of the poly­mer composite have to be investigated to optimize and widen their potential applications.

The petroleum derived thermoplastics and thermosets are widely used for pro­ducing different natural fiber composites oriented for various industrial applica­tions. The potential and competitiveness of the palm fiber was proved for different industrial applications particularly the automotive ones. It can be considered that date palm fiber is one of the most available natural fiber types all over the word. It can be utilized with different polymer matrices to produce satisfactorily strong composites. The effect of the chemical treatment of the date palm fiber had been proven to increase its final mechanical properties as well as its reinforced polymer composites.

1.5 Conclusions

The NFRPC became recently a valuable type of materials due to their desirable eco­friendly characteristics. Adopting the natural wastes and resources in finding alter­native low cost materials can enhance the industrial sustainability as well as reducing the environmental pollution. Biodegradability, low cost, low relative density, and the high specific strength characteristics are the main added value steps of the natu­ral fiber composites. Widening the application of such materials can contribute to the human living standards as well as the green environmental indices. Many poten­tial natural fiber types are still undiscovered due to the improper evaluations of such fibers. Date palm fiber is one of the most competitive fiber types for producing natu­ral composites. Several studies had demonstrated its capability to produce different composites with various thermo plastics and thermoset polymers. Proper fiber treat­ment can enhance the role of date palm fiber in supporting the natural composites with more desirable characteristics to contribute the sustainable industrial applica­tions. Further research is required to improve the natural fiber performance and to overcome their drawbacks like the moisture absorption, inadequate toughness, and reduced long-term stability for outdoor applications.

Acknowledgment The authors extend their appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this work through research group no RGP-VPP-133.

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