|Gesch, Russell - Russ|
Submitted to: Waste and Biomass Valorization
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2013
Publication Date: 5/8/2013
Citation: Bajwa, D., Bajwa, S., Holt, G.A., Srinivasan, R., Coffelt, T.A., Nakayama, F.S., Gesch, R.W. 2013. Recycling of ligno-cellulosic and polythylene wastes from agricultural operations in thermoplastic composites. Waste and Biomass Valorization. DOI:10.1007/s12649-013-9263-6. Interpretive Summary: Study to evaluate the use of natural fibers and recycled plastic as alternative raw materials for thermoplastic composites. This study focused on the use of selected byproducts from cotton, guayule, cuphea and corn processing operations (distilled dry grain solubles -DDG) in the development of natural fiber thermoplastic composites. The inherent characteristics of ligno-cellulosic fibers can be exploited to engineer the properties of composites. They have superior weight to strength ratio as compared to glass-filled thermoplastic composites. The composites with natural fiber blends mixed with oak wood flour had excellent modulus followed by the 30% recycled polyethylene blends. The composite with DDG's had higher water absorption than all other composite blends. Overall this study demonstrated that recycled polymers can be successfully utilized with natural fibers without compromising desirable properties. Recycling of natural fibers and polymers will help minimize waste to landfills and preserve our natural resources.
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 the development of natural fiber thermoplastic composites (NFTC). 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. Overall non-woody ligno-cellulosic fibers showed higher affinity to moisture than woody ligno-cellulosic fibers.