A. R. Campos, P. Lima, R. Ledo, V. Ventosinos, F. Pedras, G. Piñeiro
July 21, 2016
This study explores new applications for wood fibres through their incorporation on plastic matrices, developing high performance compounds for the automotive interior. Different automotive grades of polypropylene were reinforced with pine and eucalyptus fibres, in order to compare their properties with the specifications of different vehicle parts. The composites were produced using conventional plastics processing technologies, namely compounding with twin-screw extruder and injection molding. Mechanical properties, density, heat deflection temperature and Vicat softening point were determined. Other specific tests were carried to understand the feasibility of these composites use in automotive parts, namely fogging and flammability and also the determination of the tensile properties after climatic aging tests. The fibres morphology and its distribution and dispersion in the polymer matrices were evaluated by optical and scanning electron microscopy. The results show that it is possible to reinforce the raw-materials using wood and achieve the high standards of the automotive industry, producing environmentally friendlier materials, through the effective reduction of the use of plastic. This work enabled important conclusions regarding the incorporation of wood into PP matrices without compromising the specifications of certain dashboard parts and it also allowed evaluating the processability of these composites.