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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 626850, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of PVA-co-MMA Copolymer on the Physical, Mechanical, and Thermal Properties of Tropical Wood Materials

1Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
2Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
3Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh
4Department of Polymer Engineering, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
5School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
6Laboratory of Biocomposite Technology, Institute of Tropical Forestry and Forest Products (INTROP), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Received 19 June 2014; Revised 13 August 2014; Accepted 13 August 2014; Published 31 August 2014

Academic Editor: Peter Chang

Copyright © 2014 Md. Saiful Islam et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study demonstrates the effect of copolymer on the physical, mechanical, and thermal properties of tropical wood and wood polymer composites (WPCs). Mixed monomers of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) were effectively impregnated into the cellular structure of several types of tropical wood, which then underwent a catalyst-thermal process to polymerize and form WPC. The manufacturing of WPC was confirmed through Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) analysis. The SEM observation showed that polymer converted from monomers filled up wood cell cavities and tightly interacted with wood matrix. The X-ray diffraction results reveal that the degree of crystallinity was significantly improved upon impregnation with PVA-co-MMA copolymer. The modulus of elasticity (MOE) and compressive modulus were found to be significantly higher after treatment with MMA/PVA indicating improvement of mechanical properties of the wood samples. In addition, the modified WPC had lower water absorption compared to their corresponding raw samples. It is interesting to note that thermogravimetric (TGA) analysis shows an extensive improvement in thermal properties of WPC.