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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: 09 December 2014

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