Effect of Particle Pre-treatments on the Quality of Kenaf Core/HDPE Plastic Composites

Xiaoping Li, Jed Cappellazzi, Jeffrey J. Morrell

Abstract


Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) produces a highly versatile fiber with a variety of uses, but it also produces sizable amounts of core materials that have fewer value-added applications. One possible use for the plant core is in plastic composites, but developing suitable interactions between the hydrophobic plastic and the hydrophilic kenaf core is difficult. In this study, the potential for using various kenaf core pre-treatments was explored using high-density polyethylene (HDPE). While the pre-treatments changed the pectin content and lignin content, the increase or decrease depended on the pre-treatment methods. Pretreatments of core particles with 1% NaOH for 60 min or 1% HCl for 30 min markedly improved the mechanical properties of a 60/40 kenaf/HDPE mixture, although the pre-treatment had little effect on resistance to fungal attack. The results suggest that pectinase enzyme or cellulase enzyme pretreatment time should be shortened to 30 min or 60 min.

Keywords


Kenaf; Hibiscus cannabinus; High density polyethylene (HDPE); Low density composites; Water sorption; Flexural properties; Decay resistance

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