NC State
BioResources
Darabi, P., Gril, J., Thevenon, M. F., Karimi, A. N., and Azadfalah, M. (2012). "Evaluation of high density polyethylene composite filled with bagasse after accelerated weathering followed by biodegradation," BioRes. 7(4), 5258-5267.

Abstract

Wood-plastic composites (WPC) have many applications as structural and non-structural material. As their outdoor application becomes more widespread, their resistance against weathering, particularly ultraviolet light and biodegradation becomes of more concern. In the present study, natural fiber composites (NFPC) made of bagasse and high density polyethylene, with and without pigments, were prepared by extrusion and subjected to accelerated weathering for 1440 h; then weathered and un-weathered samples were exposed to fungal and termite resistance tests. The chemical and surface qualities of samples were studied by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, colorimetry, contact angle, and roughness tests before and after weathering. Using bagasse as filler does reduce the discoloration of weathered samples. Adding pigments may reduce the effect of weathering on lignin degradation, although it favors polymer oxidation, but it increases the weight loss caused by fungi. Despite the high resistance of samples against biological attack, weathering triggers attack by termites and fungi on the surface and causes surface quality loss.
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