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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Functional Foods Research

Title: Effect of particle size, coupling agent and DDGS additions on Paulownia wood polypropylene composites

item Tisserat, Brent
item Reifschneider, Louis
item Grewell, David
item Srinivasan, Gowrishanker

Submitted to: Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2014
Publication Date: 4/6/2014
Citation: Tisserat, B., Reifschneider, L., Grewell, D., Srinivasan, G. 2014. Effect of particle size, coupling agent and DDGS additions on Paulownia wood polypropylene composites. Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites. DOI: 10.1177/0731684414521886.

Interpretive Summary: Wood plastic composites are increasingly being utilized as substitutes for pure plastic resins (growing at 13% per annum) because they are less expensive, provide unique physical and mechanical properties and are more environmentally-friendly. However, there is a great need to develop novel and less expensive fillers to blend with plastics to met the future demands of the construction and automotive industries. This study was conducted to determine the feasibility of utilizing "fast growing" Paulownia wood and dried distiller's grain and solubles either solely or in combination with one another as filler materials to be blend with polypropylene. The resultant composites were found to have excellent mechanical properties compared to virgin plastic and suggest that they could be utilized commercially in various applications.

Technical Abstract: The mechanical, flexural, thermal, and physical characteristics of wood plastic composites employing Paulownia wood (PP) flour derived from 36-mo-old trees blended with polypropylene (PP) were analyzed. Composites of 25% and 40% w/w of PW and 0-10% by weight of maleated polypropylene (MAPP) were produced by twin screw compounding and injection molding. Composites containing MAPP had significantly improved tensile and flexural properties compared to neat PP or composites without MAPP. PW particle sizes had a significant influence on the resulting mechanical properties of composites. Combination composites of dried distiller’s grain with solubles mixed with PW (up to 40% w/w) were evaluated. Depending on the composite tested soaking composites for 872 hrs may alter some mechanical properties and cause weight gain.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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