Effect of calcined nanoclay on microstructural and mechanical properties of chemically treated hemp fabricreinforced cement nanocomposites
Calcined nanoclay was prepared in this paper by heating nanoclay (Cloisite 30B) at 900° C for 2h. This study presents the influence of calcined nanoclay (CNC) and chemical treatment on the microstructure and mechanical properties of treated hemp fabric-reinforced cement nanocomposites. Characterisation of microstructure is investigated using Quantitative X-ray Diffraction Analysis (QXDA) and High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM). The optimum hemp fabric content is 6.9 wt% (i.e. 6 fabric layers). Alkali treated hemp fabric-reinforced cement composites exhibited the highest flexural strength and fracture toughness when compared to their non-treated counterparts. In addition, mechanical properties are improved as a result of CNC addition. An optimum replacement of ordinary Portland cement with 1 wt% CNC is observed through reduced porosity and increased density, flexural strength and fracture toughness in treated hemp fabric-reinforced nanocomposite. The microstructural analysis such as QXDA indicates that the CNC behaves not only as a filler to improve the microstructure, but also as the activator to support the pozzolanic reaction and thus improved the adhesion between the treated hemp fabric and the matrix.