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Vol. 8. Issue 4.
Pages 3662-3671 (July - August 2019)
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Vol. 8. Issue 4.
Pages 3662-3671 (July - August 2019)
Original Article
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2019.06.004
Open Access
Physico-mechanical and Taguchi-designed sliding wear properties of Himalayan agave fiber reinforced polyester composite
Sanjeev Kumara, Lalta Prasadb, Sandeep Kumarc, Vinay Kumar Patela,
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Corresponding author.
a Mechanical Engineering Department, Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Engineering and Technology, Pauri Garhwal 246194, India
b Mechanical Engineering Department, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar (Garhwal), Uttarakhand 246174, India
c Department of Mechanical Engineering, S.O.E.T., H.N.B. Garhwal University Srinagar, Garhwal 246174, Uttarakhand, India
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Figures (12)
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Tables (5)
Table 1. Designation and composition of HAF–polyester composites.
Table 2. Control parameters and levels used in the experiment.
Table 3. Experimental design using L16 orthogonal array for HAF–polyester composites.
Table 4. S/N ratio response table for specific wear rate of HAF–polyestercomposites.
Table 5. ANOVA table for specific wear rate of hybrid HAF–polyester composites.
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This research paper addresses the experimental investigation on physico-mechanical and Taguchi-designed sliding wear properties of novel Himalayan agave fiber (fiber's sizes of 3mm, 5mm, 7mm and fiber's loading of 5wt.%, 7wt.% and 9wt.%) reinforced polyester composites. The tensile and impact strength were observed to increase with increase in fiber's size and loading delivering maximum tensile of 25.43MPa and impact strength of 45.55J/m2 at fiber's size and loading of 7mm and 9wt.% respectively. The maximum flexural strength (47.02MPa) and hardness (48.01Hv) were achieved with polyester composites having 7wt.% fiber loading at different fiber's size of 7mm and 5mm respectively. The sliding wear rate of composites was studied at different sliding velocity (1.5–4.5m/s), fiber's size (0–7mm), normal load (10–25N), and sliding distance (500–2000m) using Taguchi technique. The study demonstrated that the sliding velocity, fiber's size, sliding distance and normal load are the significant control parameters in descending order affecting the sliding wear rate.

Natural fiber
Physical properties
Mechanical properties
Sliding wear properties: Taguchi analysis
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The excessive use of synthetic fiber as a reinforcing agent in polymer composites all over the world has raised the environmental and sustainability issues. For this reason, polymer composites reinforced with natural fibers have been carried out by huge number of researchers for both environmental and ecological perspectives. Natural fibers seem to be a better or equivalent alternate of synthetic fibers because they are easily available in fibrous forms which are extracted from different parts of the plant at very low costs [1–5]. Now a days as the environmental concern is increasing, there is a transition shift of employing natural fiber based polymer composites in many sectors such as automotive, aerospace and medical sectors. Applications of bio-composite in automotive industry can reduce the mass up to 100kg in a car weight which may result in the reduction of both the fuel utilization and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission to about 0.3–0.5dm3/100km and 7.5–12.5g/km respectively. Natural fiber based composites have better end life disposal with light weight automotive parts as a portal to improve automotive fuel consumption and thus reduces the greenhouse gas emission. Ford, Mercedes Benz, Toyota and Bavarian motor works (BMW) are using natural fiber composite for interior and exterior parts for cars. Also, natural fiber reinforced polymer composites are employed in many industrial applications as automotive industry, construction, decoration and packaging and bio-medical and thus tend to replace the conventional synthetic fiber based polymeric composites rapidly [6–8].

Natural fiber based polymer composite gives high mechanical strength which has many advantages over synthetic fiber because of greater availability, low density, renewable, high stiffness, high degree of flexibility, reduced energy consumption, less health risk, low abrasiveness. Natural fibers are biodegradable, low cost and good results in terms of performance are very favorable attraction for the industries [9,10]. The mechanical and tribological behavior of fiber reinforced polymer composites can easily be enhanced by the incorporation of short fibers; these fiber based composites can simply be processed with reasonable cost as compared to continuous fiber reinforced polymer composites. Fiber length and weight proportion are the two factors which affect the mechanical and tribological properties of polymer composites. The influence of fiber length on the mechanical properties of palm fiber reinforced polyester composites was investigated by Uma Devi et al. [11] and it was observed that the optimum mechanical properties were achieved at fiber length/fiber weight percentage (30mm/30wt.%). In other investigation, Dabade et al. [12] observed that 30mm fiber length and ∼50wt.% of sun hemp/palmyara based polyester composites delivered optimum tensile property. Venkateshwaran et al. [13] studied the effect of addition of banana fiber content with varying fiber length (5–20mm) in epoxy composites and revealed that the superior tensile strength, tensile modulus, and flexural strength were obtained at 15mm fiber length and 16wt.% fiber content, respectively for banana fiber reinforced epoxy composites. Owing to tribological applications in automotive industries such as cams, brakes, and clutch, the natural fiber reinforced polymeric materials have steadily gained interest due to their self-lubricating performance. Although, several researchers reported the possibility of improvement in tribological behavior of polymer composites by the inclusion of various natural reinforcement [14–16]. Majority of tribological reports are based on the effect of one factor by keeping all others parameters fixed but this approach is not favorable because in real environmental conditions there will be combined effect of parameters influencing the sliding wear. Hence in this research, an effort is being made to analyze the interacting influence of parameters along with the main effect. To obtain this, DOE (design of experiment) based on Taguchi method is adopted [17,18].

In this investigation, fiber reinforced composite has been prepared by using a fiber extracted from Himalayan agave plant whose botanical name is Agave Cantula Robx. The vernacular name of agave plant is Ram-bans or kandala and mostly grown in dry exposed waste places edges of jungles in Himalayan region mostly above 1200–1300m. Himalayan agave fiber (HAF) was extracted from the leaf part of the plant. Leaves crowded in the basal part are thick, flat and 0.5–2.2m long. The extraction of fiber was done by retting (soak in water for soften) process, and after retting the leaves are beaten with a wooden hammer continuously till the separation of fibers occurred. In the present work, the fabrication of composites has been done by loading various weight percentage loading of agave fiber (5wt.%, 7wt.%, and 9wt.%) with varying length (3mm, 5mm, and 7mm). Afterward, the primarily concern is to study the influence of fiber length and weight percentage fiber loading on physical (void fraction and water absorption) and mechanical (tensile, flexural, impact and hardness) properties of agave fiber reinforced polyester composites. The secondary concern is to develop the design of expert and finally determine the optimal parameter setting by Taguchi analysis to assess the damage due to sliding wear by using the popular statistical software MINITAB 16. Moreover, the significance of each selected parameters on the specific wear rate of the composite was also discussed in this work by analysis of variance (ANOVA).

2Experiment details2.1Materials used

Himalayan agave fiber having chemical composition density (1.20g/cm3), cellulose (30%), hemicelluloses (33.59%), and lignin (28.27%) was used as reinforcing agent and procured from Girish Grih Udyog Aivam Raisha Uttpadan Samiti (GAURAS) Kotdwar, Uttarakhand, India. Unsaturated polyester resin having density of 1.35g/cm3 was purchased from Northern polymer (Pvt.) Ltd., New Delhi, India. Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) which is a colorless oily liquid with density 1.17g/cm3 as hardener and cobalt naphthanate as accelerator were used.

2.2Composites fabrication

The Himalayan agave fiber polyester composites (HAF/PC) were prepared at three different length of agave fiber of 3mm, 5mm and 7mm with varying weight percentage of 5wt.%, 7wt.% and 9wt.%. The specimen was prepared by compression molding technique. Unsaturated polyester resin was mixed with 2wt.% of hardener (MEKP) and accelerator (cobalt naphthalene) to cure the resin-matrix. The mixture was stirred continuously in a plastic jar for 5min to make sure the consistent and uniform mixing. Alfa AL-40 silicon mold releasing spray was used for easy removal of the composite from the mold. Mylar sheet was placed at bottom and upper portion in the mold cavity, which was made up of mild steel with dimension 250mm×250mm×10mm. The appropriate amount of polyester resin mixture and random oriented chopped agave fiber were filled in the mold and placed for about 5–10min at room temperature. When polymeric materials start initial curing, the composite was kept under the compression molding machine for curing with 70–80kN load for 24h at room temperature (25°C). After the composite material got cured and hardened completely, the composite was taken out from the compression molding machine and the composite edges were cut properly. The agave plant, extracted fiber, fabricated composites, tensile test, and water absorption test specimens are shown in Fig. 1 and the designation of composites is shown in Table 1.

Fig. 1.

Pictorial view of Himalayan agave plant, extracted fiber, fabricated composites, tensile test and water absorption test specimen.

Table 1.

Designation and composition of HAF–polyester composites.

Designation  Composition 
PC  Polyester (100%) 
HA3/5  Polyester (95%)+HAF (3mm and 5wt.%) 
HA3/7  Polyester (93%)+HAF (3mm and 7wt.%) 
HA3/9  Polyester (91%)+HAF (3mm and 9wt.%) 
HA5/5  Polyester (95%)+HAF (5mm and 5wt.%) 
HA5/7  Polyester (93%)+HAF (5mm and 7wt.%) 
HA5/9  Polyester (91%)+HAF (5mm and 9wt.%) 
HA7/5  Polyester (95%)+HAF (7mm and 5wt.%) 
HA7/7  Polyester (93%)+HAF (7mm and 7wt.%) 
HA7/9  Polyester (91%)+HAF (7mm and 9wt.%) 
2.3Physical measurement

Voids fraction (Vv) of the composites was determined by using Eq. (1), where ρct and ρce represent the theoretical and experimental density of the composite. Water absorption test was performed on the specimen having circular diameter of 50mm and in accordance with ASTM: D570.

Initial mass of water absorption specimen was weighted in the electronic balance machine and then soaked in distilled water at room temperature 25°C. The specimen was taken out from the distilled water at specific time intervals and instantly weighed after dried. After the surface water was wiped out with the help of dried cloth, the absorbed content of water was measured by using a precise four-digit balance machine. The percentage (%) of water absorption was calculated by Eq. (2)[18]:

where Wt is the weight of specimen at time (t), and Wo is the initially weight of sample (at t=0).

2.4Mechanical measurement

Tensile strength and flexural strength of the fabricated composites were conducted in accordance to ASTM-D638 and ASTM-D790 standard and the test was carried out by using universal testing machine (INSTRON: 3382). The sample size for tensile strength was 165mm×13mm×7mm, whereas 125mm×12.7mm×5mm for flexural strength, respectively. The Izod test specimen having dimension 63.5mm×12.7mm×10mm was used for finding the impact strength of the composite and performed by ASTM-D256 standard. A pyramid diamond shape intender was allowed to penetrate or intend the specimen's surface with a minimum load of 5kg for 10s for finding the hardness property of fabricated composites and the test was conducted on Vickers hardness test machine (VM-50PC).

2.5Sliding wear measurement and experimental design using Taguchi, technique

The sliding wear test was conducted on pin-on-disk (Make: Ducom) machine as shown in Fig. 2 and the test specimens having dimensions 35mm×8mm were used. The electronic balance machine with an accuracy of ±1/10mg was used to find out the mass loss due to sliding motion of the composite surface and Eq. (3) was used to obtain the value of specific wear rate (SWR).

Fig. 2.

Schematic diagram of sliding wear test rig.


Specific wear rate is designated by SWR (mm3/N-m); mi and mf represent the initial and final mass in (g), and the density is represented by ρ, l is the sliding distance in (m), and fn is the load applied to the specimen in (N).

The Taguchi's approach is an important tool for analyzing and modeling the effect of control factor on output performance. Several authors have reported on Taguchi's approach in sliding wear behavior of natural composites and revealed different control factors, i.e., fiber loadings, normal load, sliding velocity, sliding distance, fiber length, etc. influencing greatly the sliding wear rate of the natural fiber based polymer composites [19]. In this investigation, four parameters such as sliding velocity, normal load, fiber length, and sliding distance are used with each control factor having four levels. The different fiber length (0mm, 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm) at constant fiber loading (7wt.%) is used in this approach. According to the Taguchi's approach L16 orthogonal array was assigned for the present study. The operating conditions under which sliding wear test are carried out are presented in Table 2. The experimentally obtained specific wear rate is further transformed into signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. The S/N ratio for minimum sliding wear rate can be expressed as lower is better characteristic as given in Eq. (4). Afterward, ANOVA (analysis of variance) was used to determine the significant and contribution of each selected parameters on sliding wear rate.

where S/N=signal to noise ratio, n=number of observation, and y=observed data.

Table 2.

Control parameters and levels used in the experiment.

Control factor  LevelUnits 
  II  III  IV   
Sliding velocity  1.5  2.5  3.5  4.5  m/s 
Normal load  10  15  20  25 
Fiber length  mm 
Sliding distance  1000  2000  3000  4000 
3Results and discussion3.1Physical behavior of HAF–polyester composite

In this work, the variation of voids fraction and water absorption for HAF–polyester composites is shown in Fig. 3. It is impossible to eliminate air bubble during the fabrication of polymer composites by open mold hand layup technique but maximum possible measures were taken to minimize the formation of these voids during the fabrication of the composites. As can be seen from Fig. 3, it is clearly observed that the water absorption of the composites is a function of the agave fiber content and length. The water absorption by polymer composites increases with increase in the fiber loading, this may be attributed to that the enhancement of accessible cellulosic content in fabricated material results in swelling, because as the fiber loading is increased, the hydroxyl group is also increased, which in turn results in more water absorption [20]. The moisture uptake by HAF–polyester composites with 7mm length attained higher magnitude of water absorption in comparison to 3mm and 5mm fiber reinforced composites which may be due to the higher length reinforced composites having more voids (Fig. 3) at the fiber–matrix interface resulting in increased ability of water droplets to penetrate in to the composites. The maximum weight gains range from 0.14% to 0.47% (weight fraction) for HAF–polyester composites.

Fig. 3.

Voids fraction and water absorption graph for HAF–polyester composites.

3.2Mechanical behavior of HAF–polyester composite

The influence of Himalayan agave fiber on the mechanical behavior of polyester composites is demonstrated in Fig. 4. From Fig. 4, it is evident that the addition of agave fiber up to 5wt.% reduces the tensile strength and tensile modulus of the fabricated composites. All the composites with fiber length 3mm reflect lower tensile strength and tensile modulus than that of neat polyester. The mechanical properties of chopped fiber reinforced composites depend on the intrinsic property of reinforcing fiber and matrix, fiber–matrix adhesion, aspect ratio, length distribution and orientation of fiber in the fabricated composites [21]. The reason behind this declination in the tensile strength and tensile modulus may be correlated to the short HAF fiber length which may be envisaged to create more fiber ends, eventually leading to large number of stress concentration sites for early failure than neat polymer composite [22].

Fig. 4.

Tensile strength and modulus of HAF–polyester composites.


The composites prepared with 5mm and 7mm delivered greater tensile strength and tensile modulus at 7 and 9wt.% loading with highest tensile strength of 25.43MPa achieved with the composite having HAF of 7mm fiber length at 9wt.% fiber loading. This enhancement of tensile strength with fiber length may be envisaged to occur due to higher surface area available creating strong bonding with the polyester resin all along the fiber's length in a similar accordance with the previously investigated positive effects of fiber's length on tensile properties [23]. The tensile modulus increased with fiber content from 5wt.% to 7wt.% and superior value of tensile modulus (1.47GPa) was achieved at 7mm fiber length and 9wt.% fiber loading. Flexural strength and flexural modulus of HAF–polyester composites is represented in Fig. 5. As the fiber proportion increase up to 7wt.% in the composites, the flexural strength of the composites is increased up to 47.02MPa which further decreases with increasing of the fiber's content. From Fig. 5, it is revealed that, the flexural strength and modulus attained higher magnitude at 7wt.% as compared to 9wt.%. The flexural modulus increases with increase in the fiber loading up to 7wt.% and optimum value of flexural modulus (1.52GPa) was achieved for 7mm fiber length.

Fig. 5.

Flexural strength and modulus of HAF–polyester composites.


Impact strength of composites is nothing but the ability to measure the energy to breakdown the specimen. The effect of incorporation of HAF wt.% and fiber length in polyester composites is depicted in Fig. 6. For the fiber length of 7mm, the impact strength increases linearly from 19.57J/m2 to 45.55J/m2 with increasing the addition of fiber weight percentage. This may be due to higher fiber's resisting greatly to the crack propagation and acting as a load transferring medium. The impact strength is also dependent upon the fiber length and the impact strength increases with increase in the fiber length which may be attributed to the extra energy dissipation associated with deformation and fracture of larger fiber's size. For the same 5wt.% and 7wt.% loading the HAF/polyester composites with 7mm fiber's length exhibited lower impact strength than the 5mm fiber's length. It may be envisioned that for the same wt.% loading the smaller length fibers have large number of pieces which may lead to more volumetric distributions than that with larger fiber's length. This may indeed impart more energy absorbing capacity to smaller size fiber's reinforced polyester composites. However, the larger fiber, i.e., 7mm HAF reinforced polyester composite delivered highest impact strength at 9wt.% loading which may be believed that with increase in fiber's weight percent loading, there was a larger content fibers with more pieces available to accomplish the required throughout volumetric distribution of fibers in the polyester resin.

Fig. 6.

Impact strength of HAF–polyester composites.


The comparison graph of hardness as depicted in Fig. 7, there is an increase in hardness for HAF–polyester composites as compared to neat polyester. It is evident that the hardness value increases with increases in the fiber loading up to 7wt.% in polyester composites, after that it starts deteriorating. Likewise, the hardness of composites also depends upon the fiber length, and the highest value of hardness is achieved at 5mm with a weight fraction loading of 7% that is 48.01Hv. The declination of hardness with excess, i.e., 9wt.% addition of Himalayan agave fiber in polyester composite may be attributed to the rigid fiber getting pressed together with polyester matrix.

Fig. 7.

Vickers's Hardness of HAF–polyester composites.

3.3Analysis of sliding wear result of HAF–polyester composite

The experimentally obtained specific wear rate under dry sliding condition with corresponding S/N ratio is shown in Table 3 and the main effect plot for S/N ratio is shown in Fig. 8. From Fig. 8, it can be observed that the combination of parameters (sliding velocity)1 (normal load)4 (fiber length)3 (sliding distance)4 gives the optimum operating condition for fabricated composites. The result obtained from lower-the-better characteristics as given by the response is depicted in Table 4. The order of significance of parameters on specific wear rate is sliding velocity>fiber length>sliding distance>normal load as indicated by the last row of Table 4. The main effect graph suggests that specific wear rate increases monotonically as the sliding velocity increases from 1.5m/s to 4.5m/s. As far as the fiber length is concerned, the wear rate is more at low and higher length (0mm and 7mm) respectively but comparatively less material loss is observed at medium level of fiber length (5mm). This result is supported by previous research where Bhoopathi et al. [24] examined on borassus fruit fiber with varying length in epoxy composites and in other investigation, Mahapatra and Vedansh [25] experimented on sugar cane fiber with various fiber lengths and revealed that the optimum wear behavior of composites attained at medium fiber length.

Table 3.

Experimental design using L16 orthogonal array for HAF–polyester composites.

Experiment No.  Sliding velocity (m/s)  Normal load (N)  Fiber length (mm)  Sliding distance (m)  SWR (mm3/Nm)  S/N ratio (db) 
1.5  10  500  4.12E−08  147.702 
1.5  15  1000  2.81E−08  151.026 
1.5  20  1500  1.16E−08  158.711 
1.5  25  2000  2.23E−08  153.034 
2.5  10  1500  3.61E−08  148.850 
2.5  15  2000  2.03E−08  153.850 
2.5  20  500  5.42E−08  145.320 
2.5  25  1000  2.19E−08  153.191 
3.5  10  2000  3.16E−08  150.006 
10  3.5  15  1500  4.87E−08  146.249 
11  3.5  20  1000  6.03E−08  144.394 
12  3.5  25  500  2.84E−08  150.934 
13  4.5  10  1000  5.13E−08  145.798 
14  4.5  15  500  4.87E−08  146.249 
15  4.5  20  2000  4.24E−08  147.453 
16  4.5  25  1500  6.42E−08  143.849 
Fig. 8.

Effect of control parameters on specific wear rate of HAF–polyester composites.

Table 4.

S/N ratio response table for specific wear rate of HAF–polyestercomposites.

  Level  Control factors
    Sliding velocity (m/s)  Normal load (N)  Fiber length (mm)  Sliding distance (m) 
Average S/N ratio (db)152.6  148.1  147.4  147.6 
150.3  149.3  149.6  148.6 
147.9  149.0  152.0  149.4 
145.8  150.3  147.6  151.1 
  Delta  6.8  2.2  4.6  3.5 

This conclusion is further supported by the SEM (scanning electron microscopy) micrograph of worn samples at different sliding velocity conditions for finding the predominant wear mechanism. Generally, sliding wear behavior of composites depends on the three different mechanisms, i.e., micro-cutting, ploughing, and cracking [26]. The SEM micrograph of composites reinforced with HAF fiber with varying length at 1.5m/s and 4.5m/s, respectively are discussed in this observation. At sliding velocity of 1.5m/s, fiber length of 3mm and sliding distance of 1000m (see Table 3, Expt. No. 2), the micro cracks, wear debris, and micro-ploughing are clearly seen on the worn surface (Fig. 9(a)) and similarly in another test condition at higher sliding velocity of 4.5m/s (see Table 3, Expt. No. 15), the wear debris and micro cuts are observed over the worn surface of HAF–polyester composites (Fig. 9(b)). The sample is observed to wear 33.72% more at high velocity as compared to at low velocity, i.e., larger depth groove and more damage occur at 4.5m/s velocity. The worn surface morphology of HAF–polyester composites with 3mm and 5mm fiber length, respectively at sliding velocity of 3.5m/s are presented in Fig. 10(a) and (b). At sliding speed of 3.5m/s, it was observed that at fiber length of 3mm, severe damage occurred to the resin exhibiting higher formation of wear debris than the composites having 5mm fiber length. This may be envisaged that the medium length (5mm) fiber leads to good fiber–matrix interfacial adhesion strength which further increases the wear resistance property of polymer composites against the harm under sliding wear condition in a similar agreement to earlier report [27]. At maximum sliding velocity of 4.5m/s for 5mm agave fiber reinforced polyester composites (Fig. 11(a)), the surface micrograph shows the presence of micro cracks and wear debris. The further increase in the fiber length, i.e., 7mm exhibited the surface damage under sliding wear testing caused by fiber fracture and debonding of the fiber as shown in Fig. 11(b). These fractured fibers behaved like abrasive particle over the surface of the composites resulting in higher wear rate with such long fiber reinforced composites under similar operating condition. From the above observation, it is revealed that the optimum parameters of 15m/s sliding velocity, 20N normal load, 5mm fiber length, and 1500m sliding distance impart superior wear resistance property to HAF–polyester composites (see Table 3, Expt. No. 3).

Fig. 9.

SEM micrograph of worn surface of HAF–polyester composite with 3mm fiber length at (a) 1.5m/s and (b) 4.5m/s.

Fig. 10.

SEM micrograph of worn surface of HAF–polyester composite with (a) 3mm and (b) 5mm fiber length, subjected to sliding velocity 3.5m/s.

Fig. 11.

SEM micrograph of worn surface of HAF–polyester composite with (a) 5mm and (b) 7mm fiber length subjected to sliding velocity 4.5m/s.

3.4Analysis of variance and effect of control parameters

To find out the percentage of contribution of variously selected control parameter such as sliding velocity, normal load, fiber length, and sliding distance under dry sliding condition, ANOVA was employed on experimentally evaluated wear result. The ANOVA results are shown in Table 5. The sixth column of Table 5 represents the ranking of significance of selected control parameters on the specific sliding wear rate. The outcomes point out that the sliding velocity is the most significant factor on the specific wear rate of the composites which is in accordance to previous reports by researchers [28,29]. From Table 5, it is also observed that the sliding velocity having p-value is 0.311 for HAF–polyester composites, indicating that the sliding velocity also has negative effect on the specific wear rate of the fiber reinforced composites (Fig. 8). The contribution of selected control factors is shown in Fig. 12. The sliding velocity shows the highest contribution of 53.08%; fiber length exhibits moderate contribution of 28.31%, and sliding distance and normal load show less contribution of 13.67% and 4.94% respectively.

Table 5.

ANOVA table for specific wear rate of hybrid HAF–polyester composites.

Source  DF  Adj SS  Adj MS  F-value  p-Value  Rank 
Sliding velocity  103.61  34.54  1.86  0.311 
Normal load  9.64  3.21  0.17  0.908 
Fiber length  55.27  18.42  0.99  0.502 
Sliding distance  26.69  8.90  0.48  0.719 
Error  55.66  18.55       
Total  15  250.87         
Fig. 12.

Contribution of control parameters on the specific wear rate of HAF–polyester composites.


Physical properties of Himalayan agave fiber reinforced composites such as void fraction and water absorption increase with increase in the fiber loading and fiber length. The optimum values of mechanical properties such as tensile strength, flexural strength, impact strength and hardness were achieved at 7mm, 7mm, 5mm, and 5mm of fiber length. Hence the length of agave fiber is to be decided with care before any specific application. Sliding wear characteristic and their control factor settings were effectively analyzed by using Taguchi experimental L16 orthogonal array and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The study reveals that sliding velocity, fiber length, sliding distance, and normal load are found to be the significant control parameters in descending order influencing the sliding wear rate. The combination of sliding velocity of 1.5m/s, fiber length of 5mm, normal load of 25N and sliding distance of 2000m establish the optimal condition for minimization of specific wear rate. Further worn surface was examined by SEM and the micro cracks, micro cuts, micro-ploughing, and debonding of fibers were emerged to be the possible wear mechanism affecting the sliding wear behavior of the composite. The contribution ratio of each control parameter on specific wear rate of HAF–polyester composites under dry sliding condition is evaluated as 53.08% of sliding velocity, 28.31% of fiber length, 13.67% of sliding distance, and 4.94% of normal load, respectively.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


The authors gratefully acknowledge Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme of the Institute for all kinds of financial support for procurements of materials, testing and measurements.

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