Interface Modification, Water Absorption Behaviour and Mechanical Properties of Injection Moulded Short Hemp Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites

Polymers (Basel). 2021 May 18;13(10):1638. doi: 10.3390/polym13101638.


The effects of maleic anhydride, stearic acid and water absorption on the physical and flexural properties of injection moulded short hemp fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites were investigated, in order to understand the suitability of these materials for outdoor applications. The water absorption, diffusion mechanisms and kinetics of composites were evaluated by immersing the specimens in distilled water at 23 °C. Flexural fracture surface morphologies were investigated in order to compare the results of flexural tests with qualitative morphological observations. The process of water absorption was found to follow the Fickian mode of diffusion. Flexural properties (Ef and σfm) were affected by the water absorption. The addition of maleic anhydride and stearic acid enhanced the resistance to water absorption of composites and resulted in a slight increase of flexural properties of composites based on a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) matrix. The reduction in flexural properties induced by the degradation of matrix-fiber interfacial bonding due to water absorbed was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy analysis.

Keywords: HDPE; PP; hemp fibers; maleic anhydride; stearic acid; water absorption.