Cellulose reinforced high density polyethylene Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zp38wg09m

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  • High density polyethylene (HDPE) is a ubiquitous material with versatile properties. It is produced and used in greater volume than any other thermoplastic. HDPE is often filled with a variety of materials for various applications. Glass fiber and wood flour are two common fillers for HDPE. Recently there has been interest in the use of nanoparticles as fillers for plastics. These materials can increase the barrier properties of the resulting composite and also significantly improve the stiffness and strength, especially at higher temperatures. This project intended to use cellulose nanocrystals (CNXLs) to reinforce HDPE. Fiber agglomeration during composite processing is an issue in the nanocomposite field due to the larger surface area of the nanofibers (2-4 orders of magnitude larger than conventional fillers). CNXLs prepared in our lab are no exception to that problem. Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) was used as a model filler to study the thennomechanical properties of the composite due to the thermal degradation and agglomeration of CNXLs during processing. The use of compatibilizers, or coupling agents, was investigated as a means of improving the dispersion of the MCC and thus the mechanical properties of the composites. One compatibilizer was shown to improve the strength of the resulting composite. The stiffness was unaffected, as expected. Thermal properties were measured by means of differential scanning calorimetry. Analysis of the crystallization kinetics parameter data indicated that the crystallization activation energy of the HDPE was altered by the filler and was also modified by the presence of the compatibilizer. The presence of cellulose increased the matrix crystallinity.
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