The objective of this study targets a robust design and manufacture of natural fiber reinforced composites, the methodology has focused on the effective application of engineering strategies rather than advanced statistical techniques in optimization of plantain fiber reinforced polyester composites (PFRC) variables under compressive loading. Compressive Properties of PFRC were then evaluated based on ASTM D695-96; Crashworthiness of the new material was specified as an essential guide in vehicles and aircrafts design. At the optimal design level, the total Work Done per unit volume by PFRC was evaluated as 20.3 J/m3, while Specific Energy Absorption (SEA) is 0.019 J/kg. A simpler graphical technique of Taguchi methodology was utilized to determine which factors are significant and an orthogonal (24) experimental design applied to separate out the effect of each factor. Out of the five variables considered, the fiber material appeared to have a dominating influence on the compressive strength of PFRC followed by volume fraction of the fiber and then curing time of the composite. PFRC was found to have an optimal compressive strength of 109.062MPa. In general, the combination of Taguchi Design of Experiments (DOE) with studies on crushing energy and absorption characteristics has significantly improved the understanding of PFRC behavior under compression. The average value of specific work computed as 6.45E-03 J/kg represents the energy absorption limit and will be useful in selecting material during auto component design.
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