Due to the global demand for fibrous light-weight materials, research on composites reinforced with plant materials has increased. Natural fiber reinforced composites offer several advantages: light weight, competitive specific mechanical properties, easy processing, large volume availability, low cost, and low environmental footprint. Especially, using agricultural wastes such as rice husk, saw dust etc. as fillers/fibres in composites provides the chance to improve material properties while improving their sustainability. In the present work, rice husk and saw dust were chosen as fillers for their differing morphology, aspect ratios, and difference of structure. As matrices, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) were studied, either neat or modified with maleic anhydride grafted PP/PE as coupling agent or compatibilizer between hydrophobic matrices and hydrophilic bio-fillers. The bending modulus is improved due to filler addition. In presence of compatibilizer, the improved interfacial interaction leads to improved bending and tensile strength as well as toughness. Furthermore, the influence of the filler and compatibilizer on composite properties such as hardness, dynamic mechanical behaviour, thermal expansion, thermal degradation, melting and crystallisation behaviour are presented.
Part of the book: Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials