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Soda-Treated Sisal/Polypropylene Composites

Pimenta, Maria T. B., Carvalho, Antonio J. F., Vilaseca, Fabiola, Girones, Jordi, López, Joan P., Mutjé, Pere, Curvelo, Antonio A. S.
Journal of polymers and the environment 2008 v.16 no.1 pp. 35-39
adhesion, boiling, extrusion, hot water treatment, mechanical properties, melting, polypropylenes, scanning electron microscopy, sisal, sodium hydroxide
Treated sisal fibers were used as reinforcement of polypropylene (PP) composites, with maleic anhydride-grafted PP (MAPP) as coupling agent. The composites were made by melting processing of PP with the fiber in a heated roller followed by multiple extrusions in a single-screw extruder. Injection molded specimens were produced for the characterization of the material. In order to improve the adhesion between fiber and matrix and to eliminate odorous substances, sisal fibers were treated with boiling water and with NaOH solutions at 3 and 10 wt.%. The mechanical properties of the composites were assessed by tensile, bend and impact tests. Additionally, the morphology of the composites and the adhesion at he fiber-matrix interface were analyzed by SEM. The fiber treatment led to very light and odorless materials, with yields of 95, 74 and 62 wt.% for treatments with hot water, 3 and 10 wt.% soda solution respectively. Fiber treatment caused an appreciable change in fiber characteristics, yet the mechanical properties under tensile and flexural tests were not influenced by that treatment. Only the impact strength increased in the composites with alkali-treated sisal fibers.