Fiber from DDGS and Corn Grain as Alternative Fillers in Polymer Composites with High Density Polyethylene from Bio-based and Petroleum Sources
The steady increase in production of corn based ethanol fuel has dramatically increased the supply of its major co-product known as distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS). Large amount of DDGS and corn flour are used as an animal feed. The elusieve process can separate DDGS or corn flour into two fractions: DDGS fraction with enhanced protein and oil content or corn flour fraction with high starch content, and hull fiber. This study investigated the feasibility of using fiber from DDGS and corn grain as alternative fillers to wood fiber in high density polyethylene (HDPE) composites made with two different sources of polymers. Two fiber loading rates of 30 and 50% were evaluated for fiber from DDGS, corn, and oak wood (control) to assess changes in various physical and mechanical properties of the composite materials. Two HDPE polymers, a bio-based HDPE made from sugarcane (Braskem), and a petroleum based HDPE (Marlex) were also compared as substrates. The biobased polymer composites with DDGS and corn fibers showed significantly lower water absorption than the Marlex composite samples. The Braskem composite with 30% DDGS fiber loading showed the highest impact resistance (80 J/m) among all the samples. The flexural properties showed no significant difference between the two HDPE composites.
KeywordsBiofillers Distillers dried grain with solubles Bio based high density polyethylene Dynamic mechanical analysis Flexural property
The authors gratefully acknowledge North Dakota Corn Utilization Council for funding this research project (Grant No. FAR0021049). We would also like to acknowledge Sujal Bhattacharjee, a graduate student from NDSU for his help with sample preparations.
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