Document Type : Review Article
1 Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, PMB 1526, Nigeria
2 Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, PMB 704, Nigeria
3 School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa
A systematic and critical review on the potentials and viability of naturally occurring fibers as suitable reinforcements for the development of composite systems for structural, semi-structural and technological materials is presented in this article. Globally, the movement towards greater protection of the environment and the use of cost-saving technologies has led to a surge in the consideration of natural (biodegradable) products for the development of technological materials. In this regard, natural fibers have been proven to be good substitutes to synthetic fibers for the development of composites - because they possess similar mechanical and physical characteristics, to the synthetic fibers. In addition, natural fibers are lighter non-toxic and biodegradable. It is on this premise that several studies on their use in a number of applications where composites are desirable have been reported. Therefore, this article discusses various types of natural fibers, their properties, and their applications in different technological domains. The documentation of this review is thought-provoking and provides challenges and future prospects in the development and application of natural fibers and their composites. Copyright © VBRI Press.