Investigation on the use of coir fiber as alternative reinforcement in polypropylene

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Bettini S.H.P.
Bicudo A.B.L.C.
Augusto I.S.
Antunes L.A.
Morassi P.L.
Condotta R.
Bonse B.C.
Journal of Applied Polymer Science
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Bettini, Silvia H.P.; Bicudo, A. B. L. C.; Augusto, I. S.; Antunes, L. A.; Morassi, P. L.; CONDOTTA, Rodrigo; BONSE, B. C.. Investigation on the Use of Coir Fiber as Alternative Reinforcement in Polypropylene. Journal of Applied Polymer Science (Print), v. 118, p. 2841-2848, 2010.
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Polypropylene/coir fiber composites were prepared according to an experimental statistical design, in which the independent variables, coir fiber, and compatibilizer content, were varied. The compatibilizer used was maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PP-g-MA). Compatibilizer free composites were also prepared. Composites were processed in a corotating twin-screw extruder and submitted to mechanical and morphological analyses. The effects of the independent variables on the mechanical properties were assessed through tensile strength, elongation at break, flexural modulus, and impact strength. The morphological properties were assessed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results indicated the need for using compatibilizers in the composites due to the incompatibility of PP and coir fiber. The variable with the strongest effect on the properties was coir content, whose increase caused increase in tensile strength, impact strength and elastic modulus, and decrease in elongation at break. The presence of PP-g-MA was fundamental to achieving the aforementioned results. The effect of increasing compatibilizer content was only observed for the elastic modulus. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.