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Open AccessArticle

Correlation between Mechanical Properties and Processing Conditions in Rubber-Toughened Wood Polymer Composites

1
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, via G. Saragat 1, 44122 Ferrara, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica Materiali Ambiente, Sapienza-Università di Roma, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy
3
ITW Test and Measurement Italy, Via Airauda 12, 10044 Pianezza (TO), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(5), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051170
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 15 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Plastic Composites)
The use of wood fibers is a deeply investigated topic in current scientific research and one of their most common applications is as filler for thermoplastic polymers. The resulting material is a biocomposite, known as a Wood Polymer Composite (WPC). For increasing the sustainability and reducing the cost, it is convenient to increase the wood fiber content as much as possible, so that the polymeric fraction within the composite is thereby reduced. On the other hand, this is often thwarted by a sharp decrease in toughness and processability—a disadvantage that could be overcome by compounding the material with a toughening agent. This work deals with the mechanical properties in tension and impact of polypropylene filled with 50 wt.% wood flour, toughened with different amounts (0%, 10%, and 20%) of a polypropylene-based thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV). Such properties are also investigated as a function of extrusion processing variables, such as the feeding mode (i.e., starve vs. flood feeding) and screw speed. It is found that the mechanical properties do depend on the processing conditions: the best properties are obtained either in starve feeding conditions, or in flood feeding conditions, but at a low screw speed. The toughening effect of TPV is significant when its content reaches 20 wt.%. For this percentage, the processing conditions are less relevant in governing the final properties of the composites in terms of the stiffness and strength. View Full-Text
Keywords: wood polymer composite; biocomposite; toughening agent; processing conditions; mechanical properties; starve feeding wood polymer composite; biocomposite; toughening agent; processing conditions; mechanical properties; starve feeding
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mazzanti, V.; Malagutti, L.; Santoni, A.; Sbardella, F.; Calzolari, A.; Sarasini, F.; Mollica, F. Correlation between Mechanical Properties and Processing Conditions in Rubber-Toughened Wood Polymer Composites. Polymers 2020, 12, 1170.

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