Novel coupling agents for PVC/wood-flour composites

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Effective interfacial adhesion between wood fibers and plastics is crucial for both the processing and ultimate performance of wood-plastic composites. Coupling agents are added to wood-plastic composites to promote adhesion between the hydrophilic wood surface and hydrophobic polymer matrix, but to date no coupling agent has been reported for PVC/wood-fiber composites that significantly improved their performance and was also cost-effective. This article presents the results of a study using chitin and chitosan, two natural polymers, as novel coupling agents for PVC/wood-flour composites. Addition of chitin and chitosan coupling agents to PVC/wood-flour composites increased their flexural strength by ∼20%, their flexural modulus by ∼16%, and their storage modulus by ∼33-74% compared to PVC/wood-flour composite without the coupling agent. Significant improvement in composite performance was attained with 0.5 wt% of chitosan and when 6.67 wt% of chitin was used.-© 2005 Society of Plastics Engineers.

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Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology