Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 305–314 | Cite as

Use of Nutshells as Fillers in Polymer Composites

  • Nongnuch Sutivisedsak
  • Huai N. Cheng
  • Charles S. Burks
  • Judy A. Johnson
  • Joel P. Siegel
  • Edwin L. Civerolo
  • Atanu Biswas
Original Paper


Nutshells are agricultural waste products that can be procured at relatively low cost. In this work we examined the possibility of using these biodegradable materials as fillers in poly(lactic acid) and low density polyethylene. The nutshells were ground into powder, blended with the polymer, and then injection molded with final weight varying from 10 to 40 weight %. The mechanical and thermal properties of the composites were then studied. In general, the addition of fillers caused reductions in mechanical properties to varying extents, but thermal properties were only slightly affected. The use of maleic anhydride and peroxide with the fillers had a negative effect on poly(lactic acid) but a slightly positive effect on the stiffness of polyethylene. The results suggested that polymer-nutshell composites may be usable in applications where cost is a concern and where some reductions in mechanical properties are acceptable.


Polymer Composite Extrusion Poly(lactic acid) Polyethylene Nutshells 



The authors would like to thank Kathy Hornback for the excellent assistance with extrusion, Brian Jasberg and Gary Grose for extrusion and DSC trouble-shooting.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA)  2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nongnuch Sutivisedsak
    • 1
  • Huai N. Cheng
    • 2
  • Charles S. Burks
    • 3
  • Judy A. Johnson
    • 3
  • Joel P. Siegel
    • 3
  • Edwin L. Civerolo
    • 3
  • Atanu Biswas
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research Service, National Center for Agricultural Utilization ResearchU.S. Department of AgriculturePeoriaUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research CenterU.S. Department of AgricultureNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences CenterCommodity Protection and QualityParlierUSA

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