Recycled polypropylene reinforced with curaua fibers by extrusion

Authors

  • Marcia A. Silva Spinacé,

    1. Laboratório de Polímeros e Reciclagem, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, C. P. 6154, 13084-971, Campinas, SP, Brazil
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  • Karen K. G. Fermoseli,

    1. Laboratório de Polímeros e Reciclagem, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, C. P. 6154, 13084-971, Campinas, SP, Brazil
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  • Marco-A De Paoli

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratório de Polímeros e Reciclagem, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, C. P. 6154, 13084-971, Campinas, SP, Brazil
    • Laboratório de Polímeros e Reciclagem, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, C. P. 6154, 13084-971, Campinas, SP, Brazil
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Abstract

Curaua fibers were studied as reinforcing agents for postconsumer polypropylene. The composites were processed by extrusion. The composite properties were investigated by mechanical tests, thermal methods, melt flow index, surface morphology, and water uptake. The variables studied were as follows: fiber contents (10 to 40 wt %), fiber surface treatment, initial fiber length, and modification of the polypropylene matrix. The treatment of the fiber with 5 wt % NaOH aqueous solution did not improve fiber-matrix adhesion and the composites using 20 wt % of untreated curaua fibers presented the better mechanical properties. Feeding the extruder with fibers having shorter lengths (0.01–0.4 mm) produced better fiber dispersion, improving the mechanical properties of the composites. Composites prepared using fibers without surface treatment with postconsumer polypropylene and with polypropylene modified with maleic anhydride showed mechanical properties and water uptake similar to composites using the same polymer reinforced with other lignocellulosic fibers. The extrusion process caused also partial fibrillation of the fibers, improving their aspect ratio. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009

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