ICNF 2015 - 2nd International Conference on Natural Fibers
Bio Inspired Green Micro and Nanocomposites for the Future
International and Interuniversity Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Mahatma Gandhi University Kottayam, Kerala, India
Sabu Thomas is a Professor and Director of Polymer Science and Engineering at the School of Chemical Sciences, as well as the Director of Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. He received his Ph.D. in 1987 in Polymer Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India.. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Prof. Thomas has (co-)authored more than 600 research papers in international peer-reviewed journals in the area of polymer composites,nanocomposites, membrane separation, polymer blends and alloys, polymeric scaffolds for tissue engineering and polymer recycling. Prof. Thomas has been involved in a number of books (30 books), both as author and editor. He has been ranked no. 5 in India with regard to the number of publications (listed in the panel of most productive scientists in the country). He received the coveted Sukumar Maithy Award for the best polymer researcher in the country for the year 2008. The research group of Prof. Thomas has received numerous awards and honors for excellent work in polymer science and engineering. The h index of Prof. Thomas is 68 and he has more than 18,000 citations. Prof. Thomas has 4 patents to his credit. Recently he has been awarded CRSI, Nanotech and MRSI awards. Prof. Tomas has supervised 66 PhD theses and has delivered more than 200 invited /plenary and key note talks over 30 countries.
Micro and nano bio inspired composite materials are the best future materials for the coming millennium. Cellulose fibers, chitin and starch in different length scales offer out standing properties like stiffness, toughness and other mechanical properties. Composites from polymers (rubbers and plastics) and reinforcing fibers provide best properties of each. They replace conventional materials in many structural and non-structural applications. Both natural fibers and polymers are light, on combination they give composites of very high strength to weight ratio. In recent years composites made from natural (cellulosic) fibers and organic polymers have gained a lot of interest in construction and automobile industry. Unlike synthetic fibers, natural fibers are abundant, renewable, cheap and of low density. Composites made from natural fibers are cost effective and environment friendly. However, lack of interfacial adhesion and poor resistance to moisture absorption makes the use of natural fibers less attractive for critical applications. However, these problems can be successfully alleviated by suitable chemical treatments. This presentation deals with the use of natural fibers such as pineapple leaf fiber, coir fiber, sisal fiber, oil palm fiber and banana fiber as reinforcing material for various thermoplastics, thermosets and rubbers. The fiber surface modifications via various chemical treatments to improve the fiber-matrix interface adhesion on mechanical, viscoelastic, dielectric rheological ageing and thermal properties will also be discussed. Experimental results will be compared with theoretical predications. The advantages of hybridizing natural and glass fibers also will be scanned briefly. The use of these composites as building materials will be discussed. Finally recent developments in cellulose nanocomposites, chtin nanocomposites and starch nanocomposites will also be presented.