NC State
Ramírez-Chan, D. E., López-Naranjo, E. J., Canto-Canché, B., Burgos-Canul, Y. Y., and Cruz-Estrada, R. H. (2014). "Effect of accelerated weathering and Phanerochaete chrysosporium on the mechanical properties of a plastic composite prepared with discarded coir and recycled HDPE," BioRes. 9(3), 4022-4037.


Solid urban wastes are a primary source of local and global contamination. One approach to slow their accumulation is by using them to obtain added-value products. One common example of these waste materials is the fiber from the husks of coconuts, i.e. coir. However, it is also known that microorganisms such as fungi can attack products containing natural fibers. In this respect, this study aimed to evaluate how the mechanical properties of an extruded composite made of 60% recycled HDPE and 40% discarded coir were affected due to accelerated weathering and Phanerochaete chrysosporium attack. The effect of P. chrysosporium on the materials’ mechanical properties before and after weathering, using an accelerated weathering (AW) test device, was evaluated by means of tensile and flexural analysis following ASTM standards. Samples were also characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). FTIR spectroscopy and SEM showed that both types of treatment degraded the surfaces of the tested samples. However, the mechanical performance was not seriously affected, which means that other fungal species would affect the composites to a lesser extent.
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