Direct injection molding of hybrid polypropylene/wood-fiber composites reinforced with glass fiber and carbon fiber

  • Gangjian GuoEmail author
  • Chinmai Kethineni


Wood-plastic composites (WPC), made of wood fiber (WF) and thermoplastics, have been well developed and commercialized in construction, packaging, automotive, and furniture industry over the past three decades, as they are environmentally friendly and require less maintenance compared with natural wood. Polypropylene (PP) is one of major thermoplastics used in WPC. However, the relatively poor mechanical properties of WPC prevent them from penetrating into other structural applications where strong mechanical properties are required. To enhance the mechanical properties of PP/WF composites, this paper applies one-step direct injection molding to produce the hybrid WPC with glass fiber (GF) and carbon fiber (CF). Compared with those of PP/WF composites, the tensile strength and tensile modulus of PP/WF/GF hybrid composites increased 30% and 26%, respectively, and the tensile strength and tensile modulus of PP/WF/CF hybrid composites increased 38% and 78%, respectively. Apart from the significant increase of mechanical properties, the additional benefit of hybrid WPC was that their flame-retarding property was improved. Particularly, the dripping behavior (or fire spreading) during burning associated with WPC was significantly reduced or eliminated for the hybrid composites. In addition, the water absorption and the surface roughness of hybrid composites were also studied. This study demonstrates that it is feasible to make hybrid WPC with one-step injection molding, and hybrid WPC open the door to their potential structural applications.


Hybrid composites Injection molding Wood fiber Glass fiber Carbon fiber Polypropylene 



The corresponding author is thankful to the Caterpillar Fellowship awarded by Bradley University. The authors acknowledge P. J. Murphy Forest Products Corp. for providing the wood fiber, Zoltek for providing the carbon fiber, Hebei Yuniu Fiberglass Manufacturing Co. for providing the glass fiber, and ExxonMobil for providing polypropylene used in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering & TechnologyBradley UniversityPeoriaUSA

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