International Journal of Advances in Bio-Informatics and Bio-Technology
Author(s) : ASMADI A. , M. AWANG , MOHD AIDIL A. A. , NORA'AINI A. , ROHANI. M.
Employing fibers particularly those from renewable materials as an alternative to inorganic fibers in composites is part of the effort to promote bio-based products as well as to broaden recycling of solid wastes. In this work, the use of agro waste Alpinia galanga (AG) as composite reinforcement was investigated in terms of tensile properties, thermal stability, morphology and water absorption. Composites based on AG fibers and high density polyethylene (HDPE) were prepared together with an additive, ecodegradant (ECO) and a compatibilizer, polyethylene-g-maleic anhydride (PE-g-MA) in a mixer, Brabender Plastograph EC at various AG fiber loadings. The results reveal that the composite formulation enabled AG fibers to function as reinforcement in HDPE-based composites. The presence of ECO at 15 wt% fiber loading improved tensile strength up to 33.6 MPa, about 21 % higher than that of pristine HDPE (27.8 MPa). The addition of MA-g-PE at 10 wt% fiber loading also indicates comparable tensile strength to pristine HDPE of about 27.5 MPa. The Young’s modulus of AG/HDPE composites with the addition of ECO was enhanced up to 4874 MPa as compared to 1012 MPa of pristine HDPE. The elongation at break of the AG/HDPE composites however is somewhat lower than that of pristine HDPE. The water absorption of AG/HDPE composites with ECO at 15 wt% fiber loading was improved to 0.96 % as compared to 1.40% of the AG/HDPE composites. The proposed formulation containing ECO and PE-g- MA also slightly improved thermal stability of AG/HDPE composites. Scanning electron microscopy examination indicates a much better adhesion between AG fibers and HDPE matrix with the presence of ECO. The composite formulation with ECO, an environment-friendly additive which helps degrade polyolefin composites to the basic elements with no harmful effects contributed to noticeable improvements in properties of AG/HDPE composites.