This study explored the modifying effects of wood flour (WF) with citric acid (CA) on the rheological and mechanical properties of WF/high density polypropylene (HDPE) composites. WF was treated with CA, which acts a cross-linking agent and melt-blended with HDPE with a twin-screw extruder. Injection molding was used to make tensile and impact tests samples. The rheological properties of the blends were characterized using a Haake microcompounder, torque-, capillary-, and rotational-rheometer, respectively. Results show that the thermal stability of WF decreased after treatment. Compared with those of untreated composites, the tensile strength, elongation-at-break, and impact strength of the composites treated with 5% CA were reduced by 6%, 14%, and 16%, respectively. This reduction was attributed to embrittlement of WF, which may negatively influence the mechanical properties of the resulting composites. Scanning electron microscopy revealed better dispersion of CA-treated WF in the composites than the untreated WF. For composites treated with 5% CA, the melt torque, viscosity, moduli, and shear stress decreased significantly, indicating an improvement in processibility. This improvement is attributed to uniform dispersion of the modified WF, as well as to better interfacial adhesion between WF and the matrix. Results suggest that treating WF with CA shows promise for improving the processibility of highly filled thermoplastic composites via extrusion/injection molding processing. POLYM. COMPOS., 37:553-560, 2016.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry