Effect of Accelerated Weathering and Phanerochaete chrysosporium on the Mechanical Properties of a Plastic Composite Prepared with Discarded Coir and Recycled HDPE

Daniel Enrique Ramírez-Chan, Edgar José López-Naranjo, Blondy Canto-Canché, Yamily Yazmin Burgos-Canul, Ricardo Herbé Cruz-Estrada


Solid urban wastes are a primary source of local and global contamination. One approach to slow their accumulation is by using them to obtain added-value products. One common example of these waste materials is the fiber from the husks of coconuts, i.e. coir. However, it is also known that microorganisms such as fungi can attack products containing natural fibers. In this respect, this study aimed to evaluate how the mechanical properties of an extruded composite made of 60% recycled HDPE and 40% discarded coir were affected due to accelerated weathering and Phanerochaete chrysosporium attack. The effect of P. chrysosporium on the materials’ mechanical properties before and after weathering, using an accelerated weathering (AW) test device, was evaluated by means of tensile and flexural analysis following ASTM standards. Samples were also characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). FTIR spectroscopy and SEM showed that both types of treatment degraded the surfaces of the tested samples. However, the mechanical performance was not seriously affected, which means that other fungal species would affect the composites to a lesser extent.


Coir; Degradation; Fungi; Recycling; Plastic composites

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126