Blessie A Basilla, PhD described Abaca-reinforced composite for tricycle driver’s roof:
The Abaca Fiber Composites for Industrial Application is a project of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Korea Institute of Materials Science (KIMS), South Korea. The collaboration explored the use of different abaca treatments, surface modification techniques, and composite production technologies (e.g. vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding) for natural fiber reinforced-composite production.
The project takes advantage of the abundance of natural fiber sources in a tropical country like the Philippines in addressing the need for new reinforcing materials that are both cheap and environment friendly. Abaca fiber (known as Manila hemp) is endemic in the Philippines and is considered as one of the strongest natural fibers. It is also far more resistant to salt water decomposition than most of
the vegetable fibers.
The “Tryk ni Juan” field-testing activity is being implemented by ITDI in cooperation with GSS-LUBTTODAI (General Santos Street-Lower Upper Bicutan Taguig Tricycle Operators’ and Drivers’ Association, Inc) as partners for the field-testing, and Gnostek Industries Inc. as partner fabricator.
The use of abaca fiber-reinforced composite as roofing material takes advantage of abaca’s low density and insulating properties to create a material that is lightweight, low heat conductivity, and environmentfriendly. These properties improve fuel efficiency and protect the passengers/driver from the sun’s heat.
Applications of abaca-reinforced composite
Automotive (interior door lining panels, upholstery, seat backs)
Structural components (window/door frames, roofing, decking,
insulated panel building systems)
Construction (building panels, roofing sheets, door frames)
Sports (bicycle frames, tennis racket, surfboards)
The use of abaca fiber in natural fiber composites will help the local abaca fiber producers to increase their income.
This will provide opportunities for the local composite fabricators to explore the use of abaca and other locally-available natural fibers in fabricating natural fiber composites for various applications.
The use of abaca fiber-reinforced composite is not only limited to tricycles. It can also be used for other types of vehicles to lessen the vehicle’s weight and increase fuel efficiency.
The increase in demand for abaca fiber or abaca fiber composites also means employment opportunities for many Filipinos.
The use of abaca fiber composite is an environment-friendly alternative to conventional composites due to the reduction in carbon emission, renewability, and biodegradability.
This year another milestone… as Tryk ni Juan (abaca fiber composite tricycle roofs) is launched by ITDI-DOST and KIMS-ASEAN or the Industrial Technology Development Institute – Department of Science and Technology, Korean Institute for Material Science – Association of Southeast Asian Nations