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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2012, Article ID 472078, 7 pages
Research Article

Processing and Characterization of a Polypropylene Biocomposite Compounded with Maleated and Acrylated Compatibilizers

Department of Mechanical Engineering, North Dakota State University, 111 Dolve Hall NDSU Dept 2490, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108, USA

Received 6 September 2011; Accepted 16 January 2012

Academic Editor: Luqman Chuah Abdullah

Copyright © 2012 Brent A. Nerenz 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.


Polypropylene (PP) biocomposites containing 20 wt.% sunflower hull as a particulate reinforcement were compounded and tested under tensile, flexural, and impact loadings. The incorporation of the sunflower hull without compatibilizer resulted in diminished tensile strength and impact energy absorption but increased flexural strength and both tensile modulus and flexural modulus when compared to neat PP. Formulations containing three different chemical compatibilizers were tested to determine their effectiveness in improving the interfacial adhesion between the fiber surface and PP chains. Maleic anhydride grafted with PP (MA-g-PP) achieved greater improvements in tensile strength but reduced impact strength in comparison to an acrylic-acid-grafted PP compatibilizer (AA-g-PP). The molecular weight, graft level, and the ability to affect strength, modulus, and absorbed impact energy were also investigated for the compatibilizers. A MA-g-PP having high molecular weight and low graft level was most effective in improving the investigated properties of a sunflower hull-reinforced polypropylene biocomposite.