JOURNAL OF APPLIED POLYMER SCIENCE, vol.138, no.32, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
In this study, recycled polyethylene (rPE) based microfibrillated composites (MFCs) were developed while incorporating recycled poly(ethylene terephthalate) (rPET) and recycled polyamide 6 (rPA) as the reinforcing fibrillar phases at a given weight ratio of 80 wt% (rPE)/20 wt% (rPET or rPA). The blends were first melt processed using a twin-screw extruder. The extrudates were then cold stretched at a drawing ratio of 2.5 to form rPET and rPA fibrillar structures. Next, the pelletized drawn samples were injection molded at the barrel temperatures below the melting temperatures of rPET and rPA. The tensile, three-point bending, impact strength, dynamic thermomechanical, and rheological properties of the fabricated MFCs were analyzed. The effects of injection molding barrel temperature (i.e., 150 degrees C and 190 degrees C) and extrusion melt processing temperature (i.e., 250 degrees C and 275 degrees C) on the generated fibrillar structure and the resultant properties were explored. A strong correlation between the fibrillar morphology and the mechanical properties with the extrusion and injection molding temperatures was observed. Moreover, the ethylene/n-butyl acrylate/glycidyl methacrylate (EnBAGMA) terpolymer and maleic anhydride grafted PE (MAH-g-PE) were, respectively, melt processed with rPE/rPET and rPE/rPA6 blends as compatibilizers. The compatibilizers refined the fibrillar structure and remarkably influenced mechanical properties, specifically the impact strength.