Effect of virgin heterophasic PP copolymer content on moisture absorption, thermal and mechanical properties of recycled polyethylene wood flour composites

ARANGO, C.; RODRIGUEZ, S.; CASTAÑO, J.; ZÚÑIGA, A.:
Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society, 59:1 (2014) 2373-2377.

DOI: 10.4067/S0717-97072014000100027

Abstract

The effect of virgin heterophasic PP copolymer (vPP) content on moisture absorption, as well as on thermal and mechanical properties of recycled polyethylene/wood flour composites was investigated. The polymer matrix of recycled post-consumed plastic waste (rPE) was composed of a matrix of LDPE and a part of PP. Wood flour of Pinus radiata was used as filler at a constant loading of 45 wt.%. rPE/vPP blends and their composites were manufactured by melt blending, and then by injection molding. The morphology of the blends and composites was analyzed by means of scanning electron microscopy. The addition of vPP improved tensile and flexural moduli and flexural strength of wood plastic composites (WPC). The highest increase of these properties was observed for a WPC sample with a rPE/vPP ratio of 19. WPC made with higher virgin PP content (rPE/vPP ratio = 9 and 5.7) showed lower increase of mechanical properties compared to polymer matrix and WrPE samples. The moisture uptake of WPC made of rPE/vPP blend was higher than those of rPE, and their mechanical properties were more adversely affected by immersion in water. TGA results indicate that rPE are thermally more stable than rPE/vPP blends. The incorporation of heterophasic PP copolymer into the recycled polymer matrix of WPC delays the starting of wood flour degradation.

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