Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2008
Publication Date: 5/30/2008
Citation: Bajwa, S., Holt, G.A., Bajwa, D. 2008. A novel filler for natural fiber polymer composites from cotton gin waste [abstract]. 10th International Conference on Progress in Biofibre Plastic Composites, May 12-13, 2008, Toronto, Canada. 2008 CDROM.
Technical Abstract: The natural fiber polymer composites market has significantly grown in the last decade. The majority of these composites are manufactured using wood flour as a principal component. The price and availability of quality wood flour is uncertain in several markets, therefore there is a great potential for alternative natural fibers that can supplement wood flour. Cotton gin waste (CGW) is one such source that can be effectively used as ligno-cellulosic filler to produce natural fiber polymer composites without compromising physical and mechanical properties. Approximately 2 to 3 million tons of CGW are generated each year across the cotton belt of the USA. Since a 1990 regulatory change made the incineration of CGW illegal, around 63 percent of domestic CGW is disposed at a cost of $2 per ton. A study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of the cotton burr/stem fraction of CGW as a cellulosic source in natural fiber composites. These composite samples were manufactured with 5 different rates of cotton burr/stem fibers in them. A base rate of 48 percent thermoplastics, 48 percent ligno-cellulose, and 4 percent lubricant was used in the study. The ligno-cellulosic fraction was altered using varying proportions of wood fibers and cotton burr/stem fibers. The wood to cotton burr/stem proposition varied from 100:0, 80:20, 60:40, 20:80, and 0:100 with 4-5 replications. The oven dry ingredients were weighed, hand mixed, and extruded into a 1" x 1/4" profile with a twin-screw extruder. The extruded samples were air dried and tested for physical properties (specific gravity, water absorption, and thickness swelling) and mechanical properties (MOE, MOR, compression strength, nail withdrawal force, and impact strength) using an Instron. The natural fiber composites with various amounts of cotton burr/stem were compared to the wood-based samples as well as the commercially produced samples. The results show CGW carries strong potential as an alternative filler for natural fiber composites.