NC State
Pang, A. L., Arsad, A., Ahmadipour, M., Ismail, H., and Abu Bakar, A. (2020). "Effect of soil burial on silane treated and untreated kenaf fiber filled linear low-density polyethylene/polyvinyl alcohol composites," BioRes. 15(4), 8648-8661.


In recent decades, natural fibers have become widely used with petroleum based polymers such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) because of their light weight, lower cost, and inherent biodegradability. In the present work, linear low-density polyethylene/polyvinyl alcohol (LLDPE/PVOH) composites with untreated kenaf and silane-treated kenaf at filler loadings of 0, 10, and 40 phr were prepared via the melt mixing process. The soil burial test was used to evaluate the degradability of the composites for different durations (90 and 180 d). The tensile properties, surface morphology, chemical composition, percentage of weight loss, and crystallinity of the composites before and after degradation were evaluated. With increased kenaf loading and soil burial duration, all the composites showed a decrease in tensile properties. This was further confirmed by the changes in surface morphology and chemical structure of the buried composites. The increase in weight loss percentage and crystallinity after soil burial indicated that the longer burial duration had increased the degradation of composites. Composites with silane-treated kenaf exhibited lower degradability than that of composites with untreated kenaf after being buried for 90 and 180 d. This may be attributed to the improved adhesion of kenaf to the LLDPE/PVOH matrix via silane treatment.

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