Study of the Behavior of Different Natural Fiber Reinforced Composites During Injection Molding by Means of Simulation Using a Mechanistic Approach
Natural fiber filled plastic parts are gaining importance in the world of green products, particularly in the automotive industry. The mold filling process of natural fiber reinforced resins plays a significant role on the quality of the finished product. The quality of the finished product depends if the fibers are visible on the surface of the part or not, and in the final anisotropic properties of the injection molded part. This is reflected in the form of fiber attrition, excessive fiber orientation, fiber jamming, and fiber matrix separation during manufacturing of fiber filled plastic composite parts. In this work, the fiber movement in a molding process is simulated using a mechanistic approach where fibers are modeled as chains of interconnected beam elements. The model takes into account the fiber flexibility, interaction between fibers and fiber damage. The behavior of different natural fiber composites during injection molding is studied considering two relevant zones: the gate of the mold and the fountain flow region.