Use of residual agricultural plastics and cellulose fibers for obtaining sustainable eco-composites prevents waste generation



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González Sánchez, Carlos and Martínez Aguirre, Alvar and Pérez García, Beatriz and Martínez Urreaga, Joaquín and Orden Hernández, María Ulagares de la and Fonseca Valero, Carmen (2014) Use of residual agricultural plastics and cellulose fibers for obtaining sustainable eco-composites prevents waste generation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 83 . pp. 228-237. ISSN 0959-6526

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Crop protection residual plastic films are a growing environmental problem which requires efficient solutions. Their suitability as matrices for obtaining sustainable eco-composites reinforced with industrially-sourced residual natural fibers was investigated in order to boost their recovery and prevent waste generation. The analysis of the studied residual agricultural plastics revealed that they are low density polyethylene still containing significant amounts of ethylene-vinyl acetate (2.5-4.5 wt%). A pilot-plant extrusion-compounding technology was applied to a selected recycled plastic from residual agricultural films and the residual cellulose fibers for obtaining the eco-composites. The effects of cellulose-fiber content and a selected maleic anhydride-modified polyethylene coupling agent on the properties and interfacial adhesion of the eco-composites were investigated. By using micromechanical models, scientific data of the intrinsic modulus and strength of the Eucalyptus Globulus residual fibers, hitherto scarcely available in literature, were found to be 16.4 GPa and 180 MPa, respectively, thus revealing their suitability as cost-effective reinforcement. Tensile modulus and strength of the eco-composites were up to 667% and 70% greater than those of the neat agricultural recycled plastic, the latter due to the enhanced compatibility provided by the ethylene-vinyl acetate found. When the coupling agent was added, tensile and flexural strengths increased up to a maximum of 20.26 MPa and 23.96 MPa, respectively. Property variations were found to be due to the fiber length reduction and the interfacial adhesion improvement caused by the coupling agent as well as to its plasticizing effect. The properties achieved revealed the suitability of the eco-composites for their immediate application in the production of numerous environmentally sustainable and cost-effective end-products from the aforementioned wastes.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Agricultural plastics ; Waste prevention ; Natural fibers ; Cellulose ; Composites ; Intrinsic properties
Subjects:Sciences > Chemistry > Plastics industry
Sciences > Chemistry > Chemistry, Technical
Sciences > Chemistry > Chemistry, Organic
ID Code:29938
Deposited On:11 May 2015 12:25
Last Modified:11 May 2015 12:25

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