Guaruman: a Natural Amazonian Fiber with Potential for Polymer Composite Reinforcement
The Amazonian region of South America is known for its diversified number of plants from which food, medicine, wood and fibers have, since long time, been produced by local natives. A typical example is the guarumã ("guaruman"as suggested English spelling) scientifically identified as Ischinosiphon koem, an abundant plant found in the low lands alongside rivers of the state of Para in Brazil. Fibers extracted from the stem of the guaruman are used in ropes and baskets owing to their strength.
... o their strength. In the present work, the possibility of applying guaruman fibers as reinforcement of polymer matrix composites is, for the first time, investigated. Amounts up to 30 vol% of continuous and aligned fibers were incorporates into epoxy matrix composites. Density measurements disclosed the guaruman to be one of the lightest natural fibers. Tensile tests indicate that the guaruman fiber addition was able to improve the composite elastic modulus. However, no significant change was found in the ultimate strength, total strain and resilience. On the other hand, a cost-effective analysis revealed a substantial reduction of ~29% in the epoxy composite price due to the incorporation of fibers. Preliminary ballistic evaluation disclosed a potential for application of guaruman epoxy composites in multilayered armor.