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Influence of refiner fibre quality and fibre modification treatments on properties of injection-moulded beech wood-plastic composites

: Schirp, A.; Mannheim, M.; Plinke, B.


Composites. Part A, Applied science and manufacturing 61 (2014), S.245-257
ISSN: 1359-835X
Fraunhofer WKI ()
fibres; thermoplastic resin; wood; mechanical properties

Thermo-mechanical pulp (TMP) fibres made from beech wood were produced using increasing refiner gap widths and thus with increasing fibre length and coarseness. Fibres (60% by weight) were compounded in an internal kneading mixer using high-density polyethylene as the matrix and injection-moulded. Fibre lengths and length/width ratios were determined (a) before processing and (b) after injection-moulding and Soxhlet extraction using the optical FibreShape system. An increase in fibre length resulted in a decrease in water absorption and an improvement in flexural strength and modulus of elasticity of the wood-plastic composites (WPC). However, flexural strength of the WPC with TMP fibres was not improved compared to WPC with wood flour when maleic anhydride-grafted polyethylene (MAPE) was used as a coupling agent. After injection-moulding, differences in length of the various TMP fibre types were minor. Fibre geometry before processing strongly influences the water absorption and flexural properties of the composite. Fibre treatment with emulsified methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (EMDI) resin before compounding was shown to be equally efficient in reducing water absorption and improving flexural strength as the addition of MAPE during the compounding step.