Polymers 2010, 2(4), 554-574; doi:10.3390/polym2040554

Functionalization, Compatibilization and Properties of Polyolefin Composites with Natural Fibers

1 Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, IMCB- CNR, Via Diotisalvi 2, Pisa 56122, Italy 2 Department of Chemical Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Materials Science, University of Pisa, Pisa 56122, Italy 3 Polymer Division, INTEMA-CONICET, University of Mar del Plata, Mar del Plata, Argentina
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 October 2010; in revised form: 2 November 2010 / Accepted: 10 November 2010 / Published: 15 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers)
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Abstract: The article is focused on analyzing the effect of functionalization and reactive processing on the morphological, thermal, rheological and mechanical properties of composites of isotactic polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), poly(ethylene-vinyl acetate) (EVA), with cellulose fibers, hemp or oat as natural fillers. Both polymers and fibers were modified with bi-functional monomers (glycidyl methacrylate, GMA; maleic anhydride, MA) capable of facilitating chemical reactions between the components during melt mixing. Polyolefin copolymers containing reactive groups (PP-g-GMA, SEBS-g-MA, PS-co-MA, etc.) were used as compatibilizers. Optical and SEM microscopy, FTIR, RX, DSC, TGA, DMTA, rheological and mechanical tests were employed for the composites characterization. The properties of binary and ternary systems have been analyzed as a function of both fiber and compatibilizer content. All compatibilized systems showed enhanced fiber dispersion and interfacial adhesion. The phase behavior and the thermal stability of the composites were affected by the chemical modification of the fibers. Marked changes in the overall crystallization processes and crystal morphology of PP composites were observed owing to the nucleating effect of the fibers. The tensile mechanical behavior of the compatibilized composites generally resulted in a higher stiffness, depending on the fiber amount and the structure and concentration of compatibilizer.
Keywords: polymer composites; natural fibers; functionalization; compatibilization; morphology; physical-mechanical properties

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pracella, M.; Haque, M.-U.; Alvarez, V. Functionalization, Compatibilization and Properties of Polyolefin Composites with Natural Fibers. Polymers 2010, 2, 554-574.

AMA Style

Pracella M, Haque M-U, Alvarez V. Functionalization, Compatibilization and Properties of Polyolefin Composites with Natural Fibers. Polymers. 2010; 2(4):554-574.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pracella, Mariano; Haque, Md. Minhaz-Ul; Alvarez, Vera. 2010. "Functionalization, Compatibilization and Properties of Polyolefin Composites with Natural Fibers." Polymers 2, no. 4: 554-574.

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