Effect of sodium bicarbonate treatment on mechanical properties of flax-reinforced epoxy composite materials

V. Fiore, T. Scalici*, A. Valenza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


This paper deals with the evaluation of the effect of an eco-friendly and cost-effective surface treatment based on the use of sodium bicarbonate on the mechanical properties of flax-reinforced epoxy composites. To this aim, unidirectional fabrics were soaked for five days in 5 and 10% in weight of sodium bicarbonate solution at 25℃. Quasi-static and dynamic mechanical tests were performed and the fracture surfaces of the composites were analyzed through scanning electron microscopy. Results evidenced that this treatment improves the fiber–matrix adhesion thus increasing the performances of the composites. Treating the fabrics with 10% w/w of bicarbonate solution leads to improvements of ∼20 and ∼45% in tensile strength and modulus of the composites, respectively, compared to untreated ones. Furthermore, by increasing the concentration, negligible changes in the glass transition temperature and reductions in the tanδ peak heights were found. The observation of the fracture surfaces confirmed the beneficial effect of the proposed treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1072
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • chemical treatment
  • epoxy
  • fiber–matrix adhesion
  • flax
  • Natural fiber
  • sodium bicarbonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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