Study of the Flexural Modulus and the Micromechanics of Old Newspaper Reinforced Polypropylene Composites

Francesc X. Espinach, Miquel A. Chamorro-Trenado, Joan Llorens, Josep Tresserras, Neus Pellicer, Fabiola Vilaseca, Angels Pèlach


The inclusion of old newspaper as reinforcement in composites promotes the use of environmentally friendly materials, reduces landfilling, decreases chemical treatments to bleach the recycled paper, and provides alternatives to glass fiber. While there are studies on the tensile strength and stiffness of old newspaper reinforced materials, there is a lack of analysis of their flexural properties. Considering that bending loads are very common, the flexural stiffness of the materials must be examined prior to industrial use. In this study, the flexural moduli of composites made from old newspaper fibers and polypropylene were compared with other composites. The composites showed moduli ranging from 2.1 to 4.1 GPa, and a composite with 50% newspaper content had a flexural modulus comparable to 10% glass fiber composite. These values allow an industrial use of the composites for semi-structural purposes. A method to assess the intrinsic flexural modulus of the reinforcements was presented and evaluated against other micromechanics models. The value of the efficiency factors and a mean orientation angle were also obtained.


Old newspaper; Polypropylene; Recycling; Flexural modulus, Micromechanics

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