Natural Fiber Reinforced Poly(vinyl chloride) Composites: Effect of Fiber Type and Impact Modifier
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Poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) and natural fiber composites were prepared by melt compounding and compression molding. The influence of fiber type (i.e., bagasse, rice straw, rice husk, and pine fiber) and loading level of styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS) block copolymer on composite properties was investigated. Mechanical analysis showed that storage modulus and tensile strength increased with fiber loading at the 30% level for all composites, but there was little difference in both properties among the composites from various fiber types. The use of SEBS decreased storage moduli, but enhanced tensile strength of the composites. The addition of fiber impaired impact strength of the composites, and the use of SEBS led to little change of the property for most of the composites. The addition of fiber to PVC matrix increased glass transition temperature (Tg), but lowered degradation temperature (Td) and thermal activation energy (Ea). After being immersed in water for four weeks, PVC/rice husk composites presented relatively smaller water absorption (WA) and thickness swelling (TS) rate compared with other composites. The results of the study demonstrate that PVC composites filled with agricultural fibers had properties comparable with those of PVC/wood composite.
KeywordsPoly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) Composites Fibers SEBS Impact modifier
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the USDA Rural Development—Biomass Initiative Program (No: 68-3A75-6-508) and from Louisiana Board of Regents Industrial Tie Subprogram (LEQSF: 2005-008-RD-B-01).
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