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Sustainable Biocomposites from Recycled Bale Wrap Plastic, its Blends with Polypropylene and Reinforced with Agave Fiber

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Title: Sustainable Biocomposites from Recycled Bale Wrap Plastic, its Blends with Polypropylene and Reinforced with Agave Fiber
Author: Chowdhury, Iftekhar Hussain
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Mohanty, AmarMisra, Manjusri
Abstract: The annual world production of plastics is around 300 million tons. From the production, almost 60% corresponds to polyolefins with a major production of polyethylene (60%) and polypropylene (40%). Plastic recycling, to make sustainable materials, is considered one of the biggest initiatives towards the greener environment and socio-economic development. This research was aimed to investigate the effect of the blend of recycled bale wrap linear low-density polyethylene (rLLDPE) and polypropylene (PP) (PP/rLLDPE 50:50 matrix), which was further reinforced with 25 wt.% agave fiber prepared by injection-molded technique. Different ratios of combined maleic anhydride grafted PP/PE (MAPP and MAPE) were used (1-3 wt.%), and further compared with the synthesized compatibilizer made from MAPP/rLLDPE; in terms of mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties of the biocomposites. Incorporating the compatibilizer into the composite improved the interfacial adhesion between hydrophobic matrix and hydrophilic agave fiber; which further increased the mechanical properties and heat deflection temperature of the composite. Scanning electron microscopy showed enhanced compatibility and adhesion between the matrix and the fiber by inclusion of 2 wt.% compatibilizer. Moreover, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis showed that the compatibilizer improved the interaction between the fiber and the matrix. The optimal compatibilizer content in the biocomposite was found to be 2 wt.% of the matrix. The synthesized compatibilizer blended composite showed improved mechanical properties than the industrial one which indicates the potential application of this composite (around 62% recycled material) in the manufacturing packaging materials and commodity products.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/23706
Date: 2020-12-17
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