Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Zinc Borate-Pretreated Poplar Wood Flour/Plastic Composite

Alireza Badritala, Seyyed Khalil Hosseini Hashemi, Behzad Kord, Seyed Majid Zabihzadeh, Vahidreza Safdari


The effect of zinc borate (ZB) treatment on the mechanical and morphological properties of wood flour/polypropylene composites was investigated. Wood flour was first treated with ZB solution (1% w/w in ethanol-distilled water), followed by 24 hours of soaking on an unheated magnetic stirrer hot plate until relatively complete saturation was reached. Then, composites based on ZB-pretreated, ZB-treated-during-manufacturing, and untreated wood flour, polypropylene and coupling agent were made by melt compounding and then injection molding. The ZB treatment had no significant influence on mechanical properties of the composite with the exception of tensile strength. The composite made with ZB-pretreated wood flour exhibited the same mechanical properties as the composites made with ZB-in-process-treated wood flour; however there were statistically significant differences between flexural modulus and tensile strength of ZB-pretreated composites and ZB-in-process treated ones. Specimens containing the ZB showed lower flexural, tensile, and impact strength compared with the untreated specimens. However, the zinc borate treatments produced modest improvements in hardness performance. The SEM micrographs revealed that the outer surface of the wood fibers was coated by some crystalline deposits of zinc borate.


Zinc borate; Pretreatment; In-process; Mechanical properties; Wood-polypropylene composites

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