• composites;
  • mechanical properties;
  • thermoplastics


Rice husk (RH) and linear medium density polyethylene (LMDPE) were used along with maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene (MAPE) to study the effects of component composition on the mechanical properties of the composites. Ten different blends along with four replicated blends were prepared with different selected percentages of RH, MAPE and LMDPE using mixture design approach. Trace and contour plots were used to examine the effects of RH, MAPE and LMDPE on the mechanical properties of the manufactured composites. Regression coefficients were also estimated for each fitted response (mechanical property). The results show that tensile and flexural properties of the composites improved with an increase in amount of RH, whereas Charpy impact strength decreased with increasing fibre loading. Tensile strength, flexural strength and Charpy impact strength increased with an increase in MAPE loading up to a certain percentage of MAPE, beyond which any further increase decreased these properties. The effect of MAPE on tensile and flexural modulus was not significant. The fitted models were used to optimise formulation of RH, MAPE and LMDPE for multiple responses for overall “best” mechanical properties. The optimal formulation for the overall “best” mechanical properties were found to be 50 wt% for RH, 4.1 wt% for MAPE and 45.9 wt% for LMDPE. The mechanical properties of the composite manufactured with this formulation closely matched the values predicted by the models. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40647.