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Recyclability of bamboo polypropylene composites


Natural fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites have already become commercially acceptable for variety of applications ranging from automotive parts to consume goods. Good specific mechanical properties of bamboo make it one of the most effective reinforcement to thermoplastics. With growing usage of these kind of composites, their recyclability and disposal need to be studied. In the present investigation, Bamboo Polypropylene Composites (BPC) were prepared by reinforcing virgin polypropylene with bamboo fibres. Recycling process was carried out by passing BPC through the extruder multiple times. Five recycling was performed and for each cycle samples were injection moulded. Moulded samples were tested for mechanical properties and heat deflection temperatures (HDT). Virgin polypropylene was also recycled five times and tested for each cycle. With recycling the reduction in tensile properties was more pronounced when compared with flexural properties in BPC. Tensile and flexural properties of BPC reduced with number of recycling cycles, but for PP tensile properties increased and flexural properties decreased. HDT temperature of both BPC and PP showed continuous downward trend with recycling. Elongation at break of PP reduced continuously with recycling but for BPC elongation increased slightly with each recycling. After five recycling, elongation of BPC increased by 60% when compared with initial value. To study the effect of using recycled PP as matrix in composite preparation, recycled PP after five recycling was blended with 40% bamboo fibres and tested. BPC obtained showed flexural modulus and strength of 3.3 GPa and 54.84 MPa, respectively. Tensile modulus and strength were 2.56 GPa and 39.55 MPa, respectively. Heat deflection temperature was observed to be 138°C.

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Authors express sincere thanks to Mr. Atul Kumar, Ms. Spoorthi and Mr. Krishna of wood processing division for their assistance in preparation and testing of composites.

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Correspondence to R. M. Abhilash.

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Abhilash, R.M., Gunjal, J., Venkatesh, G.S. et al. Recyclability of bamboo polypropylene composites. J Indian Acad Wood Sci 19, 23–29 (2022).

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  • Bamboo
  • Fibre
  • Recycling
  • Polypropylene
  • Composite