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Evaluation of Mechanical Properties and Durability Performance of HDPE-Wood Composites

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This article evaluates the mechanical properties and biodegradability of wood-plastic composite materials made from sawdust and thermoplastic polymer (HDPE). For the preparation of the composites, sawdust in different proportions with Maleic Anhydride grafted Polyethylene (MAPE) as the coupling agent was used. The mechanical properties and biodegradability of the biocomposites were successively characterized. The results indicate that adding sawdust particles to a polymer matrix improves the mechanical strength and stiffness of composites. The tensile strength of a composite with 3% coupling agent was improved by 13%, 34% and 54% respectively when 20%, 30% and 40% wood fillers were added to the polymer matrix. Furthermore, resistance to fungi attacks decreased. The biodegradability of biocomposites up to 97 days indicates that, by increasing the sawdust content, the amount of weight loss increased as well. Also, it has been found that the microbial effects were more important in the case of composite with high wood-filler content and without MAPE. The maximum weight loss was estimated to be equal to 1.67%, corresponding to the high wood content composite of HDP-40% wood without MAPE. In other words, even though the addition of sawdust to polymer improves the mechanical performance of a composite material, it also accelerates the biodegradation rate. An optimum amount of sawdust content might compromise the effect of the biodegradation and mechanical properties of composite materials.
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Keywords: BIODEGRADABILITY; MECHANICAL PROPERTIES; WOOD PLASTIC COMPOSITES (WPCS)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-12-01

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  • The Journal of Renewable Materials (JRM) publishes high quality peer reviewed original research on macromolecules and additives obtained from renewable/biobased resources. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, JRM introduces cutting-edge research on biobased monomers, polymers, additives (both organic and inorganic), their blends and composites. It showcases both fundamental aspects and new applications for renewable materials. The fundamental theories and topics pertain to chemistry of biobased monomers, macromoners and polymers, their structure-property relationship, processing using sustainable methods, characterization (spectroscopic, morphological, thermal, mechanical, and rheological), bio and environmental degradation, and life cycle analysis. Demonstration of use of renewable materials and composites in applications including adhesives, bio and environmentally degradable structures, biomedicine, construction, electrical & electronics, mechanical, mendable and self-healing systems, optics, packaging, recycling, shape-memory, and stimulus responsive systems will be presented.
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