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Recycled multilayer cartons as cellulose source in HDPE-based composites: Compatibilization and structure-properties relationships



In this article, an alternative mechanical recycling of multilayer carton scraps (MC), consisting in the use of MC without the physical separation of its different fractions (cellulose fibers and low-density polyethylene, 80/20 wt/wt), is proposed. In particular, MC was considered as a source of cellulose fibers in the obtainment of high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-based composites. Composites containing up to 60 wt % of milled MC were prepared by reactive processing, i.e., by adding different amount (5 and 10 wt %) of a linear low-density polyethylene grafted with maleic anhydride (coupling agent, maleated linear low-density polyethylene) during HDPE/MC mixing. Then, structure/properties relationships were deeply investigated as a function of MC and coupling agent content. The coupling agent was able to induce a complete polymeric covering of cellulose fraction as well as a strong HDPE/cellulose interfacial adhesion. As a consequence, a significant improvement of mechanical properties at low and high deformation rates as well as a very interesting response of composites to water vapor permeability was obtained. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009