Oil palm microcomposites: Processing and mechanical behavior



The present work focuses on the effect of concentration and modifications of oil palm microfibrils in natural rubber. Increase in the concentration of microfibrils resulted in the reduction of tensile and tear strengths while an increase in modulus, hardness, and abrasion resistance of composites. The extent of microfibril orientation in the composite was determined from green strength measurements. Microcomposites were also prepared by using fibrils treated with benzoyl chloride, silane coupling agent, and hydrated silica-resorcinol-hexamethylenetetramine bonding agent. The treated and untreated microfibrils were characterized by FTIR. Scanning electron micrograph studies were carried out to analyze the microfibril pull out and fiber/matrix adhesion of composites. The extent of fiber alignment and interfacial adhesion were analyzed from swelling measurements. Finally, experimental results of mechanical properties were compared with the theoretical predictions. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 50:1853–1863, 2010. © 2010 Society of Plastics Engineers