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

Functionalization, Compatibilization and Properties of Polyolefin Composites with Natural Fibers

1,* , 2
 and
3
Received: 14 October 2010 / Revised: 2 November 2010 / Accepted: 10 November 2010 / Published: 15 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers)
Download PDF [854 KB, 16 November 2010; original version 15 November 2010]

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 polymer composites; natural fibers; functionalization; compatibilization; morphology; physical-mechanical properties
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.

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

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