Effect of wetting and drying cycles on the interface of natural fibers with a Portland cement based matrix
Several fiber treatments are applied to mitigate the high water absorption of vegetal fibers. Wetting and drying cycles are usually performed in the industry of paper and cellulose to reduce the volume variation of the natural fibers. This procedure stiffens the polymeric structure of the fiber-cells (process known as hornification) resulting in a higher dimensional stability. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of the hornification on the fiber-matrix interface of natural fibers and Portland cement matrices. For this purpose, 2, 5 and 10 cycles of wet and drying was applied on Sisal, Curaua and Jute fibers. Fiber pull-out tests were performed in embedment lengths of 25mm. Furthermore, the influence of the hornification in the fibers mechanical (under tensile loading) and microstructural (surface modifications of the fiber and changes in the fibercell structure) behavior were investigated. The results indicate changes on the tensile strength and strain capacity of the studied fibers, showing that morphology, physical aspects and chemical composition play an important role on the efficiency rate of hornification.