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Materials 2014, 7(10), 6919-6929; doi:10.3390/ma7106919

Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Polypropylene Composites Reinforced with Lignocellulose Nanofibers Dried in Melted Ethylene-Butene Copolymer

1
Biomass Refinery Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 3-11-32, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739-0046, Japan
2
Department of Forest Biomaterials Engineering, College of Forest and Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University, 1, Chuncheon 200-701, Korea
3
TOCLAS Corporation, 1370, Nishiyamatyou, Nishiku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 432-8001, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2014 / Revised: 25 September 2014 / Accepted: 28 September 2014 / Published: 9 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cellulosic Materials 2014)
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Abstract

Lignocellulose nanofibers were prepared by the wet disk milling of wood flour. First, an ethylene-butene copolymer was pre-compounded with wood flour or lignocellulose nanofibers to prepare master batches. This process involved evaporating the water of the lignocellulose nanofiber suspension during compounding with ethylene-butene copolymer by heating at 105 °C. These master batches were compounded again with polypropylene to obtain the final composites. Since ethylene-butene copolymer is an elastomer, its addition increased the impact strength of polypropylene but decreased the stiffness. In contrast, the wood flour- and lignocellulose nanofiber-reinforced composites showed significantly higher flexural moduli and slightly higher flexural yield stresses than did the ethylene-butene/polypropylene blends. Further, the wood flour composites exhibited brittle fractures during tensile tests and had lower impact strengths than those of the ethylene-butene/polypropylene blends. On the other hand, the addition of the lignocellulose nanofibers did not decrease the impact strength of the ethylene-butene/polypropylene blends. Finally, the addition of wood flour and the lignocellulose nanofibers increased the crystallization temperature and crystallization rate of polypropylene. The increases were more remarkable in the case of the lignocellulose nanofibers than for wood flour. View Full-Text
Keywords: lignocellulose nanofiber; polypropylene; impact strength; ethylene-butene copolymer; wood flour; master batch lignocellulose nanofiber; polypropylene; impact strength; ethylene-butene copolymer; wood flour; master batch
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Iwamoto, S.; Yamamoto, S.; Lee, S.-H.; Ito, H.; Endo, T. Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Polypropylene Composites Reinforced with Lignocellulose Nanofibers Dried in Melted Ethylene-Butene Copolymer. Materials 2014, 7, 6919-6929.

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