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Effects of wood fiber surface chemistry on strength of wood–plastic composites

Abstract : Because wood–plastic composites (WPC) strength relies on fiber-matrix interaction at fiber surface, it is likely that fiber surface chemistry plays an important role in WPC strength development. The objective of the present study is to investigate the relationships between fiber surface chemical characteristics and WPC mechanical properties. Different fibers were selected and characterized for surface chemical characteristics using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). WPC samples were manufactured at 40% fiber content and with six different fibers. High density polyethylene was used as matrix and maleated polyethylene (MAPE) was used as compatibility agent. WPC samples were tested for mechanical properties and fiber-matrix interface was observed with scanning electron microscope. It was found WPC strength decreases as the amount of unoxidized carbon (assigned to lignin and extractives) measured with XPS on fiber surface increases. In the opposite case, WPC strength increases with increasing level of oxidized carbon (assigned to carbohydrates) on fiber surface. The same conclusions were found with FTIR where WPC strength decreases as lignin peaks intensity increases. Esterification reaction of fibers with MAPE occurs on polar sites of carbohydrates, such as hydroxyls (Osingle bondH). Thus, fibers with carbohydrates-rich surface, such as cellulose pulp, produced stronger WPC samples. Other factors such as mechanical interlocking and fiber morphology interfered with the effects of fiber surface chemistry.
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https://hal-centralesupelec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01237120
Contributor : Catherine Kruch <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 4:56:46 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 10:58:55 AM

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Sébastien Migneault, Ahmed Koubaa, Patrick Perre, Bernard Riedl. Effects of wood fiber surface chemistry on strength of wood–plastic composites. Applied Surface Science, Elsevier, 2015, 343, pp.11 - 18. ⟨10.1016/j.apsusc.2015.03.010⟩. ⟨hal-01237120⟩

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