Combined Effect of Zinc Borate and Coupling Agent against Brown and White Rot Fungi in Wood-Plastic Composites

Ertugrul Altuntas, Esra Yilmaz, Tufan Salan, Mehmet Hakkı Alma

Abstract


Fungal resistance was investigated for wood-plastic composites (WPCs) containing zinc borate, maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene (MAPE) as a coupling agent, wood fiber (Pinus sylvestris), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Decay resistance, water absorption, and surface hardness (Shore D) of the WPCs were tested. The reinforced wood-plastic composites were exposed to brown-rot fungus (Coniophora puteana, Postia placenta) and white-rot fungus (Trametes versicolor) in agar tests. The results showed that zinc borate improved the decay resistance of the WPCs against brown and white rot fungus according to their weight losses. Moreover, the water absorption and surface hardness tests indicated that the physical properties of the composites were weakened after fungal decay tests. The usage of MAPE and zinc borate alone or together was effective against both rot fungus species in WPCs. The synergy of 1% zinc borate and 3% MAPE in WPCs could considerably increase the fungal attack resistance. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that both brown and white rot fungus attacked the surface of WPCs samples without both MAPE and zinc borate.

Keywords


Composite; Decay resistance; Rot fungus; Zinc borate; Coupling agent; Combined effect

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