Injection Molding and Appearance of Cellulose-Reinforced Composites
Journal article, 2020
Composite materials based on an ethylene-acrylic acid (EAA) copolymer and 20 wt% cellulose fibers were compounded by two runs in a twin-screw extruder. The composite material with cellulose fibers (CF) and a reference of unfilled EAA were injection molded into plaques using three different temperature profiles with end zone temperatures of 170°C, 200°C, and 230°C. The injection molded samples were then characterized in terms of their mechanical properties, thermal properties, appearance (color and gloss), and surface topography. The higher processing temperatures resulted in a clear discoloration of the composites, but there was no deterioration in the mechanical performance. The addition of cellulose typically gave a tensile modulus three times higher than that of the unfilled EAA, but the strength and strain at rupture were reduced when fibers were added. The processing temperature had no significant influence on the mechanical properties of the composites. Gloss measurements revealed negligible differences between the samples molded at the different melt temperatures but the surface smoothness was somewhat higher when the melt temperature was increased. In general, addition of the cellulose to the EAA reduced the gloss level and the surface smoothness. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2019. © 2019 Society of Plastics Engineers.