Processing and Characterization of Palm Fiber-Polypropylene Composites
Composites of palm fiber and polypropylene were compounded using a mixing device at various temperatures, mixing times, and mixing intensities. Two mixing options were utilized. Either the mixing device was mounted with a mixer or a single screw extruder. The composites were subsequently injection molded into standard tensile specimens for mechanical characterization. Tests were performed to determine the effects of processing parameters such as the mixing and molding temperatures, mixing speed, and mixing time on the mechanical performance of the palm-polypropylene composite. The optimum processing conditions for the mixer were determined to be: Mixing Speed = 50 rpm, Mixing Time = 8 min, and Processing Temperature = 200°C. Optimum extruder conditions, on the other hand, were determined as 40 rpm extruder screw speed and processing temperatures of Zone 1=195°C, Zone 2=200°C, Zone 3=205°C, and Nozzle 210°C. Use of the extruder resulted in higher composite strength with much shorter processing time. Further studies are also being conducted to include coupling agents in the processing to improve the interfacial adhesion between the palm fibers and the polypropylene matrix.
S.M. Sapuan, F. Mustapha, D.L. Majid, Z. Leman, A.H.M. Ariff, M.K.A. Ariffin, M.Y.M. Zuhri, M.R. Ishak and J. Sahari
R. Kahraman et al., "Processing and Characterization of Palm Fiber-Polypropylene Composites", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 471-472, pp. 145-150, 2011