Date of Award

December 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Rani El-Hajjar

Committee Members

Adeeb Rahman, Konstantin Sobolev


Composite, Jute


Composite materials are increasing in popularity as a material of choice in many engineering applications. Major industries using composites include automotive, construction, and sports equipment. Most of the knowledge, research, and technology that will help decrease the cost of composite materials have been aimed at developing synthetic fibers as the reinforcing constituent.

This thesis characterizes jute fibers obtained as a byproduct from the coffee industry to determine if they can be viable in composite manufacturing. Experimental analysis, finite element analysis, and analytical modeling are used to characterize jute fiber based composites. Experimental analysis consists of jute fiber bundle tensile testing as well as tensile testing of multiple laminates.

Finite element and analytical models were developed to simulate different composite characteristics and their influence on jute composites. Finite element models investigated the influences of fiber undulation, fiber damage, and matrix porosity. Results show that certain manufacturing precautions should be taken to minimize imperfections which have negative influences on the composite. Fiber damage has the largest influence when introduced near the top of the fiber wave and can cause normal stresses to increase 56%. Fiber undulation and matrix porosity also have noticeable influences on the composite.