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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #270861

Title: Recycling of ligno-cellulosic and polyethylene wastes from agricultural operations in thermoplastic composites

item BAJWA, SREEKALA - University Of Arkansas
item BAJWA, DILPREET - Greenland Composites, Inc
item Holt, Gregory
item SRINIVASAN, RADHAKRISHNAN - Mississippi State University
item Coffelt, Terry
item NAKAYAMA, FRANCIS - Retired ARS Employee
item Gesch, Russell - Russ

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2011
Publication Date: 8/7/2011
Citation: Bajwa, S.G., Bajwa, D.S., Holt, G.A., Srinivasan, R., Coffelt, T.A., Nakayama, F., Gesch, R.W. 2011. Recycling of ligno-cellulosic and polyethylene wastes from agricultural operations in thermoplastic composites [abstract]. In: Proceedings of Second International Conference on Recycling and Reuse of Materials, August 5-7, 2011, Kottayam, India. Abstract IL 19, p. 18-19.

Interpretive Summary: This paper is a summary of several projects performed over the last two years using cotton, guayule, cuphea, and corn waste products in the manufacture of thermoplastic composites. The current wood polymer composites industry is expected to grow 9.2% annually to $5.3 billion by 2013, and the cost of wood fiber is increasing. The waste biomass streams evaluated were in hopes of finding a suitable replacement for wood fiber. In addition to the biomasses evaluated, the high density polyethylene module wraps in use on round modules were evaluated as a co-ingredient in thermoplastic composites. Testing involved evaluation of eight thermoplastic composite boards and one control made from oak wood flour. Results indicate the dry distillers grain solids (corn waste) composites had the highest water absorption. All fibers except cotton burs decreased the specific gravity of the boards compared to the control. Cuphea had low water absorption and thermal expansion. Nail holding capacity for cotton burs and guayule composites was similar to the control. The composites made with recycled plastic module wrap were similar to the control with virgin polyethylene. The study demonstrates that recycled polymers can be successfully utilized with natural fibers without comprimising desirable properties.

Technical Abstract: In the US, wood plastic composites (WPC) represent one of the successful markets for natural fiber-filled thermoplastic composites. In the past several years, the availability of good quality wood fiber has been diminishing and prices of wood and plastic have been increasing. Therefore, the vast quantities of ligno-cellulosic and thermoplastic wastes generated by the agriculture sector could potentially become inexpensive raw materials for thermoplastic composites. This study focuses on the use of selected byproducts from cotton, guayule, cuphea, and corn processing operations in thermoplastic composites. The results indicate that various fibers affect both physical and mechanical properties of composites differently, and could be selectively used to impart desirable properties in composite materials.