Investigation of Fiber Surface Treatment Effect on Thermal, Mechanical and Acoustical Properties of Date Palm Fiber-Reinforced Cementitious Composites

Abstract High energy consumption in the building sector appeals for the implementation and the improvement of innovative approaches with low-environmental impact. The development of eco-friendly composites as insulating materials in buildings provides practical solutions for reducing energy consumption. Different mass proportions (2.5%, 10%, and 20%) of untreated and chemically treated palm fibers were mixed with (cement, water and sand) so as to prepare novel composites. Composites were characterized by measuring water absorption, thermal conductivity, compressive strength and acoustic transmission. The results reveal that the incorporation of untreated and chemically treated date palm fibers reduces novel composites’ thermal conductivity and the mechanical resistance. Thermal measurements have proved that the loading of fibers in composites decreases the thermal conductivity from 1.38 W m−1 K−1 for the reference material to 0.31 W m−1 K−1 for composites with 5% of treated and untreated fibers. The acoustical insulation capacity of untreated palm fiber-reinforced composites (DPF) was the highest at 20% fiber content, whereas treated palm fiber-reinforced composites (TPF) had the highest sound insulation coefficient for fiber content lower than 10%. Compressive strength, thermal conductivity and density correlation showed that only chemically treated fiber-reinforced composites (TPF) are good candidates for thermal and acoustic building insulations.