ABSTRACT Mechanical properties of ukam, banana, sisal, coconut, hemp and e-glass fibre reinforced laminates were evaluated to assess the possibility of using it as new material in engineering applications. Samples were fabricated by the hand lay-up process (30:70 fibre and matrix ratio by weight) and the properties evaluated using the INSTRON material testing system. The mechanical properties were tested and showed that glass laminate has the maximum tensile strength of 63 MPa, bending strength of 0.5 MPa, compressive strength of 37.75 MPa and the impact strength of 17.82 J/m2. The ukam plant fibre laminate has the maximum tensile strength of 16.25 MPa and the impact strength of 9.8J/m among the natural fibres; the sisal laminate has the maximum compressive strength of 42 MPa and maximum bending strength of 0.0036 MPa among the natural fibres. Results indicated that natural fibres are of interest for low-cost engineering applications and can compete with artificial glass fibres (E-glass fibre) when a high stiffness per unit weight is desirable. Results also indicated that future research towards significant improvements in tensile and impact strength of these types of composites should focus on the optimisation of fibre strength rather than interfacial bond strength.
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