Materials Chemistry and Physics, Vol.92, No.2-3, 458-469, 2005
Degradability of composites, prepared from ethylene-propylene copolymer and jute fiber under accelerated aging and biotic environments
The utilization of natural fiber as reinforcement for the thermoplastic composites is growing not only for ecological concern but also for wide range of applications. In the present article, three types of composites were prepared by melt mixing of ethyl ene-propylene (EP) copolymer and (i) 3% NaOH treated jute fiber, (ii) 17.5% NaOH treated jute fiber and (iii) commercial microcrystalline cellulose powder using maleated EP copolymer as compatibilizer. The obtained composites were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and microscopic measurements. The durability of the composites was evaluated under polychromatic irradiation (λ &GE; 290 nm) and composting condition for different time intervals. It was found that the treatments on the natural fiber have influenced the service life of the end product. Composites made from microcrystalline cellulose showed better mechanical properties as well as photo-resistance. The specimen containing 3% NaOH treated fiber exhibited relatively lowest photo-resistance and biosusceptibility. It was found that the composites were less durable under both abiotic and biotic conditions in comparison of the neat polymer matrix. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.