Experimental Investigation on the Fire Performance of Corrugated Sandwich Panels made from Renewable Material

The use of renewable substitutes in various semi-structural and structural applications has experienced an increase since the last few decades. Sandwich panels have been used for many decades, although research on understanding the effects of the core structures on the panels’ fire-reaction properties is limited. The current work investigates the fire-performance of a corrugated sandwich panel made from renewable, biodegradable, and sustainable material, plywood. The bench-scale fire testing apparatus, cone-calorimeter, was employed to evaluate the required fire-reaction properties of the sandwich core in a panel configuration, with three corrugated layers glued together with face-sheets under a heat irradiance of 50 kW/m2. The study helped in documenting a unique heat release trend associated with the fire performance of the 3-layered corrugated sandwich panels and in understanding the structural stability of the samples in the event of a fire. Furthermore, the total peak heat release rate was observed to be around 421 kW/m2, which is significantly low compared to many polymeric materials in the literature. The total smoke production was also perceived to be very limited compared to other structural materials, and the total heat release was also nominal. The time to ignition of 21.7 s further outlined the advantages of using the plywood component since polymeric composites, even with flame-retardant additives, tend to ignite faster. Overall, the corrugated plywood sandwich panels had significant fire-reaction properties and could have important structural applications. The possible use of structural panels made from bio-degradable material opens a new avenue for the use of similar structures in sandwich panel preparation.

Kinetic Rate Comparison of Methane Catalytic Combustion of Palladium Catalysts Impregnated onto γ-Alumina and Bio-Char

Catalytic combustion of methane is imperative due to stability of methane at low temperature. Methane (CH4), therefore, remains unconverted in vehicle exhausts thereby causing greenhouse gas GHG emission problem. In this study, heterogeneous catalysts of palladium with bio-char (2 wt% Pd/Bc) and Al2O3 (2wt% Pd/ Al2O3) supports were prepared by incipient wetness impregnation and then subsequently tested for catalytic combustion of CH4. Support-porous heterogeneous catalytic combustion (HCC) material were selected based on factors such as surface area, porosity, thermal stability, thermal conductivity, reactivity with reactants or products, chemical stability, catalytic activity, and catalyst life. Sustainable and renewable support-material of bio-mass char derived from palm shell waste material was compared with those from the conventional support-porous materials. Kinetic rate of reaction was determined for combustion of methane on Palladium (Pd) based catalyst with Al2O3 support and bio-char (Bc). Material characterization was done using TGA, SEM, and BET surface area. The performance test was accomplished using tubular quartz reactor with gas mixture ratio of 3% methane and 97% air. The methane porous-HCC conversion was carried out using online gas analyzer connected to the reactor that performed porous-HCC. BET surface area for prepared 2 wt% Pd/Bc is smaller than prepared 2wt% Pd/ Al2O3 due to its low porosity between particles. The order of catalyst activity based on kinetic rate on reaction of catalysts in low temperature was 2wt% Pd/Bc>calcined 2wt% Pd/ Al2O3> 2wt% Pd/ Al2O3>calcined 2wt% Pd/Bc. Hence agro waste material can successfully be utilized as an inexpensive catalyst support material for enhanced CH4 catalytic combustion.

Effect of Alkali Treatment on Impact Behavior of Areca Fibers Reinforced Polymer Composites

Natural fibers are considered to have potential use as reinforcing agents in polymer composite materials because of their principal benefits: moderate strength and stiffness, low cost, and being an environmental friendly, degradable, and renewable material. A study has been carried out to evaluate impact properties of composites made by areca fibers reinforced urea formaldehyde, melamine urea formaldehyde and epoxy resins. The extracted areca fibers from the areca husk were alkali treated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) to obtain better interfacial bonding between fiber and matrix. Then composites were produced by means of compression molding technique with varying process parameters, such as fiber condition (untreated and alkali treated), and fiber loading percentages (50% and 60% by weight). The developed areca fiber reinforced composites were then characterized by impact test. The results show that, impact strength increase with increase in the loading percentage. It is observed that, treated areca fiber reinforcement increases impact strength when compared to untreated areca fiber reinforcement.