Journal of Applied Polymer Science 122:3 (2011) 1731-1741.

DOI: 10.1002/app.34104


The effects of the type of coupling agent and virgin polypropylene (PP) content on the mechanical properties and water absorption behavior of recycled low-density polyethylene/wood flour (WF) composites were investigated. The fractured surfaces of these recycled wood/plastic composites (rWPCs) were examined to gain insight into the distribution and dispersion of WF within the polymer matrix. The results indicate that the use of 100% recycled polymer led to inferior mechanical properties and to a greater degree of moisture absorption and swelling when compared to recycled polymer–virgin PP wood/plastic composites. This could have been related to the poor melt strength and inferior processability of the recycled polymer. The extent of improvement of the mechanical properties depended not only on the virgin PP content in the matrix but also on the presence of maleic anhydride (MA) modified PP as the coupling agent. Higher concentrations of MA group were beneficial; this improvement was attributed to increased chemical bonding (ester linkages) between hydroxyl moieties in WF and anhydride moieties in the coupling agent.

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