TENSILE STRENGTH CHARACTERISTICS OF POLYPROPYLENE COMPOSITES REINFORCED WITH STONE GROUNDWOOD FIBERS FROM SOFTWOOD

Joan P. López, José A. Méndez, Francesc X. Espinach, Fernando Julián, Pere Mutjé, Fabiola Vilaseca

Abstract


The behavior of stone groundwood / polypropylene injection-molded composites was evaluated with and without coupling agent. Stone groundwood (SGW) is a fibrous material commonly prepared in a high yield process and mainly used for papermaking applications. In this work, the use of SGW fibers was explored as a reinforcing element of polypropylene (PP) composites. The surface charge density of the composite components was evaluated, as well as the fiber’s length and diameter inside the composite material. Two mixing extrusion processes were evaluated, and the use of a kinetic mixer, instead of an internal mixer, resulted in longer mean fiber lengths of the reinforcing fibers. On the other hand, the accessibility of surface hydroxyl groups of stone groundwood fibers was improved by treating the fibers with 5% of sodium hydroxide, resulting in a noticeable increase of the tensile strength of the composites, for a similar percentage of coupling agent. A new parameter called Fiber Tensile Strength Factor is defined and used as a baseline for the comparison of the properties of the different composite materials. Finally the competitiveness of stone groundwood / polypropylene / polypropylene-co-maleic anhydride system, which compared favorably to sized glass-fiber / polypropylene GF/PP and glass-fiber / polypropylene / polypropylene-co-maleic anhydride composite formulations, was quantified by means of the fiber tensile strength factor.

Keywords


Stone Groundwood; Polypropylene; Composites; Tensile strength

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