The increase in modulus of polypropylene (PP) upon addition of montmorillonite makes PP-based polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) ideal matrix materials for wood/plastic composites (WPCs) for decking, railing, roofing and siding applications, among others. In this work, the influence of maleated PP (that is used both as a coupling agent for WPCs and as a compatibilizer for the PNC) on increasing the modulus of extruded and injection molded PP-based WPCs is investigated. Also examined are the effects of the sequence of compounding steps and the use of different processing conditions. The improvement in mechanical properties is explained with the help of available theories and is also related to the composite morphology with the help of scanning and transmission electron micrographs. INTRODUCTION Wood plastic composites (WPCs) containing wood particulates or wood fiber dispersed in a matrix of polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene have become the material of choice to replace lumber used in residential applications and treated with chemicals like chromated copper arsenate (CCA); CCA-treated wood has been phased out of the building products market by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the Vol. 26, Nos. 8-9, 2006 end of December 2004 (refer to the EPA web site). Thus,
Journal of Polymer Engineering – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 1, 2006
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