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Effect of fly ash washing conditions on the properties of coupling agent modified polypropylene/fly ash composites

Potgieter, H and Liauw, CM and Velado, D (2014) Effect of fly ash washing conditions on the properties of coupling agent modified polypropylene/fly ash composites. Polymer Composites, 35. ISSN 0272-8397

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Abstract

Two fly ash samples (one from UK, UKFA, and another from South Africa, SAFA) were washed with water and 1 M hydrochloric acid (followed by water) prior to incorporation (at 65% wt) into polypropylene homopolymer, containing an unsaturated carboxylic acid coupling agent (Lubrizol Solplus® C800) with dicumyl peroxide free radical initiator. Melt blending was achieved using a Haake Rheomix 600 mixing chamber, and composite test plaques were compression moulded. Flexural and impact testing was then carried out. Unwashed and water washed fly ash-based composites responded well to C800 modification, and flow microcalorimetry (FMC) and diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy studies confirmed strong interaction between C800 and fly ash. However, washing the fly ash with HCl led to a reduction in composite flexural and impact properties. Scanning electron microscopy imaging of the latter composite fracture surfaces revealed poor filler-matrix adhesion, which was thought to be due to reduced interaction between C800 and HCl washed fly ash. The latter was confirmed using FMC. Reduction of C800/fly ash interaction led to a reduction in the nucleation of polypropylene (PP) crystallization and a decrease in melt flow rate. The latter may be due to a shift in locus of PP-C800 addition reactions from the interfacial region to the bulk matrix. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers.

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