Thermal Degradation as a Function of Time and Temperature in a Coconut Shell Powder-Polypropylene Composite




Kirby, Matthew L.

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Due to increasing environmental awareness and the rapid depletion of nonrenewable resources, natural materials have become more common as fillers in polymeric composites. Coconut shell powder (CSP) as a functional filler in polypropylene has been show to provide mechanical property enhancements. However, specific processing parameters for CSP –polypropylene composites have yet to be well defined. CSP will not be able to transition from a lab-scale natural filler to a full production, commercial natural filler, until the specific parameters for CSP-polypropylene processing are determined. Therefore, the focus of this research is to determine the effects of processing time and processing temperature on CSP-polypropylene composites. The two opposing phenomena in processing CSP-polypropylene composites are thermal degradation of the CSP and encapsulation of the CSP by the polypropylene matrix. The encapsulation of CSP in a polypropylene matrix effectively shifts the onset of CSP degradation to higher temperatures.