Recyclable Short Fibre Reinforced Plastics PP/Nylon and HDPE/Nylon composites

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Recyclable Short Fibre Reinforced Plastics PP/Nylon and HDPE/Nylon composites

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Title: Recyclable Short Fibre Reinforced Plastics PP/Nylon and HDPE/Nylon composites
Author: Thomas N, Abraham; Dr. George, K E
Abstract: The study shows that standard plastics like polypropylene and high density polyethylene can be reinforced by adding nylon short fibres. Compared to the conventional glass reinforced thermoplastics this novel class of reinforced thermoplastics has the major advantage of recyclability. Hence such composites represent a new spectrum of recyclable polymer composites. The fibre length and fibre diameter used for reinforcement are critical parameters While there is a critical fibre length below which no effective reinforcement takes place, the reinforcement improves when the fibre diameter decreases due to increased surface area.While the fibres alone give moderate reinforcement, chemical modification of the matrix can further improve the strength and modulus of the composites. Maleic anhydride grafting in presence of styrene was found to be the most efficient chemical modification. While the fibre addition enhances the viscosity of the melt at lower shear rates, the enhancement at higher shear rate is only marginal. This shows that processing of the composite can be done in a similar way to that of the matrix polymer in high shear operations such as injection moulding. Another significant observation is the decrease in melt viscosity of the composite upon grafting. Thus chemical modification of matrix makes processing of the composite easier in addition to improving the mechanical load bearing capacity.For the development of a useful short fibre composite, selection of proper materials, optimum design with regard to the particular product and choosing proper processing parameters are most essential. Since there is a co-influence of many parameters, analytical solutions are difficult. Hence for selecting proper processing parameters 'rnold flow' software was utilized. The orientation of the fibres, mechanical properties, temperature profile, shrinkage, fill time etc. were determined using the software.Another interesting feature of the nylon fibre/PP and nylon fibre/HDPE composites is their thermal behaviour. Both nylon and PP degrade at the same temperature in single steps and hence the thermal degradation behaviour of the composites is also being predictable. It is observed that the thermal behaviour of the matrix or reinforcement does not affect each other. Almost similar behaviour is observed in the case of nylon fibre/HDPE composites. Another equally significant factor is the nucleating effect of nylon fibre when the composite melt cools down. In the presence of the fibre the onset of crystallization occurs at slightly higher temperature.When the matrix is modified by grafting, the onset of crystallization occurs at still higher temperature. Hence it may be calculated that one reason for the improvement in mechanical behaviour of the composite is the difference in crystallization behaviour of the matrix in presence of the fibre.As mentioned earlier, a major advantage of these composites is their recyclability. Two basic approaches may be employed for recycling namely, low temperature recycling and high temperature recycling. In the low temperature recycling, the recycling is done at a temperature above the melting point of the matrix, but below that of the fibres while in the high temperature route. the recycling is done at a temperature above the melting points of both matrix and fibre. The former is particularly interesting in that the recycled material has equal or even better mechanical properties compared to the initial product. This is possible because the orientation of the fibre can improve with successive recycling. Hence such recycled composites can be used for the same applications for which the original composite was developed. In high temperature recycling, the composite is converted into a blend and hence the properties will be inferior to that of the original composite, but will be higher than that of the matrix material alone.
Description: Department of Polymer Science and Rubber Technology, Cochin University of Science and Technology
URI: http://dyuthi.cusat.ac.in/purl/2207
Date: 2005-08


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