Effect of Accelerated Weathering on Biocomposites Processed by SMC and Compression Molding
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The durability of biocomposites utilized for building components has been a subject of recent concern and questioning. To address these concerns, the long-term effects of weathering on biocomposites used as building components were evaluated using an accelerated weatherometer. The biocomposite samples were processed by sheet molding compounding (SMC) panel processing and/or compression molding. The accelerated weatherometer served to expose the samples to ultraviolet radiation (UV), condensation, and water spray at levels pertinent to actual conditions: 48 cycles of UV (340 nm) treatment at 60 °C for 2.5 h was followed by water spray for 0.5 h, and then condensation at 45 °C for 24 h. Twelve cycles were repeated in each test, and the total duration for the complete test was 2016 h. Measurements for color, surface roughness test weight change, and dynamical mechanical analysis were taken at regular intervals of time. It was found that the surface roughness increased, as the color changed, and storage modulus decreased with increases in the exposure time of the samples to accelerated weathering conditions, compared to their properties at the beginning of the test.
KeywordsBiocomposites Accelerated weathering Weathering Durability SMC line Surface roughness Color change QUV
The authors are grateful to NSF-PATH (2001 Award No.0122108) for kindly supporting this project. Collaboration and samples from Kemlite Inc., Joliet, IL and FlaxCraft Inc., Cresskill, NJ are highly appreciated. Authors are thankful to Dr. Pascal Nzokou and Dr. Weining Cui for helping in the set up of the weathering experiments.
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