Evaluation of the Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Coffee Tree Wood Flour - Polypropylene Composites

Brent H. Tisserat, Louis Reifschnedier, Juan Carlos López Núñez, Stephen R. Hughes, Gordon Selling, Victoria L. Finkenstadt


Columbian coffee trees are subject to frequent replacement plantings due to disease and local climate changes, which makes them an ideal source of wood fibers for wood plastic composites (WPC). Composites of polypropylene (PP) consisting of 25% and 40% by weight of coffee wood flour (CF) and 0% or 5% by weight of maleated PP (MAPP) were produced by twin screw compounding and injection molding. Composites containing MAPP had significantly improved tensile and flexural properties compared to neat PP or composites without MAPP. Excellent mechanical properties were obtained with CF relative to conventional wood fillers. IZOD impact resistances of CF composites were significantly lower than neat PP although WPC containing MAPP were superior to WPC without MAPP. Bio-based fiber composites made by mixing CF in equal portions with other fiber sources were evaluated to determine the compatibility of using CF with other sources of filler materials. Soaking of tensile bars of the various CF blends in distilled water for 35 days may alter their mechanical properties and result in weight gain. Differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis were conducted on the neat PP and bio-composites to evaluate their thermal properties as they relate to potential degradation during conventional thermoplastic resin processing.


Mechanical properties; Flexural properties; Differential scanning calorimetry; Thermal properties; Injection molding

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