Injection Molded Wheat Straw and Corn Stem Filled Polypropylene Composites
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Environmentally friendly composite materials can be prepared using wood fibers and/or various types of agro-derived fibers as reinforcements. In this study, agro-residues such as wheat straw and corn stem filled polypropylene were prepared and their suitability was investigated as a reinforcing filler in thermoplastics and as an alternative to the wood flour filled plastics. Effect of compounding techniques, compatibilizer and fungal treatment of agro-residues on the mechanical properties of the composites were evaluated. It was found that high shear compounding of wheat straw fibers exhibited similar properties to that produced by the milled wheat straw. This may be due to the extensive fiber breakage occurred during the high shear compounding that results in a similar aspect ratio to that of milled straw. Compatibilizer is needed for improving the strength properties of the agro-residue filled PP composites. Fungal treatment of milled wheat straw did not show much improvement in the strength properties of the composites. Comparison of mechanical properties of the agro-residue filled PP with that of the wood flour and the old newsprint filled PP showed the suitability of the agro-residues as alternative filler for thermoplastics.
KeywordsWheat straw Cornstalk Agro-residues Natural fiber composites Mechanical properties
Authors would like to acknowledge the financial support by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), the in-kind support by industry partners Arkema Canada and Xtendex Canada, and the technical assistance by M. Ahmadinejad.
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