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Open AccessArticle

Thermal and Mechanical Analysis of Polyethylene Homo-Composites Processed by Rotational Molding

Department of Engineering for Innovation—University of Salento, Via per Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(3), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11030528
Received: 18 January 2019 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials and Methods for New Technologies in Polymer Processing)
This work is aimed at studying the suitability of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibers for the production of polyethylene homo-composites processed by rotational molding. Initially pre-impregnated bars were produced by co-extrusion and compression molding of UHMWPE fibers and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). A preliminary screening of different processing routes for the production of homo-composite reinforcing bars was performed, highlighting the relevance of fiber impregnation and crystalline structure on the mechanical properties. A combination of co-extrusion and compression molding was found to optimize the mechanical properties of the reinforcing bars, which were incorporated in the LLDPE matrix during a standard rotational molding process. Apart from fiber placement and an increase in processing time, processing of homo-composites did not require any modification of the existing production procedures. Plate bending tests performed on rotational molded homo-composites showed a modulus increase to a value three times higher than that of neat LLDPE. This increase was obtained by the addition of 4% of UHWMPE fibers and a negligible increase of the weight of the component. Dart impact tests also showed an increased toughness compared to neat LLPDE. View Full-Text
Keywords: rotational molding; homo-composite; crystalline structure; mechanical properties rotational molding; homo-composite; crystalline structure; mechanical properties
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Greco, A.; Ferrari, F.; Buccoliero, M.G.; Trono, G. Thermal and Mechanical Analysis of Polyethylene Homo-Composites Processed by Rotational Molding. Polymers 2019, 11, 528.

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