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Hydrophobic wood flour derived from a novel p-TsOH treatment for improving interfacial compatibility of wood/HDPE composites

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Abstract

The interfacial compatibility between wood and polymers of wood/plastic composite (WPC) has been widely investigated. However, the reported methods for improvement of interfacial compatibility almost utilized the compatibilizer. In this work, a compatibilizer-free method was applied to enhance the interfacial compatibility between wood flour (WF) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). p-toluenesulfonic acid (p-TsOH) was used to selectively remove hemicelulose, which would significantly improve the hydrophobicity of WF. It was found that most hemicellulose (about 91%) and a small amount of lignin were solubilized from WF. The static water contact angle (WCA) of WF sheet was significantly increased from nearly 0° to 135.7°, indicating that the WF was converted from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) showed p-TsOH treatment of WF could effectively improve the interfacial bonding between the WF and HDPE. The composite with 50 wt% modified-WF (MWF) showed optimum mechanical properties with an increase of 33.5% and 38.7% in tensile strength and flexural strength, respectively, as compared to those of corresponding WF/HDPE composite.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful for the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31700498), Major scientific and technological projects for university in Fujian Province (2016H61010036), Science and technology extension project of Fujian Forestry Department (2018TG132), Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (2016H6005). The authors are also grateful to Mr. Mingen Fei from Washington State University.

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Correspondence to Wenbin Yang.

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Lin, H., Li, R., Li, D. et al. Hydrophobic wood flour derived from a novel p-TsOH treatment for improving interfacial compatibility of wood/HDPE composites. Cellulose (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-020-03046-4

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Keywords

  • p-toluenesulfonic
  • Hydrophobic wood fiber
  • Interfacial compatibility
  • Surface modification
  • Biocomposites