Studies of the Static Mechanical Properties of Polypropylene-Filled Calabash Particles Bio-Composites

Abubakar Bunza Musa,Jamila Baba Ali, Abdullahi Danladi, Paul Mamza, Sani Mohammed Ali

Keywords: Bio-composites, Calabash Particles, Composites, , Flexural Strength, Polypropylene, Tensile Strength


Production of eco-friendly bio-composites has been the new trend in composite manufacture by polymer scientists and engineers since synthetic polymers are non-biodegradable and constitute environmental hazards when disposed indiscriminately. This study utilized calabash particles (CP) as filler in Polypropylene (PP) matrix to produce bio[1]composites. The calabash which were grinded and sieved into 125µm were introduced at 10% variation to 50% filler loading followed by compounding and compression moulding. Two categories of composites were prepared, in one (CP/PP A), Maleic Anhydride (MA) as coupling agent was introduced at 3% on the weight of the filler together with an initiator Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) at 1% to enhance the interfacial adhesion between the CP and PP and in another (CP/PP B) no coupling agent was used. The result of mechanical properties i.e. tensile strength, flexural strength, impact strength, hardness and tensile modulus for composites with coupling agent showed increase from 0 to 40% filler loading representing 9.30, 24.60, 37.84, 45.78 and 31.43% increase respectively, but showed decreasing trend for composites without coupling agent from 0 to 50% with the exception of tensile modulus and hardness which increased from 0 to 50% filler loading representing 13.51 and 36.76% increase respectively. Also, SEM micrographs for fractured surfaces of tensile test samples showed signs of even dispersion of the filler particles in the composite structure with coupling agent and showed signs of uneven dispersion of the fillers in the composite structure and voids for composites without coupling agent. From the results obtained, it can be deduced that the composites prodcued can be used for application that require moderate strenght and cheaper applications like utensils, bowls, plates etc.