Evaluation of Novel Compatibility Strategies for Improving the Performance of Recycled Low-Density Polyethylene Based Biocomposites
The interfacial compatibility of the natural filler and synthetic polymer is the key performance characteristic of biocomposites. The fillers are chemically modified, or coupling agents and compatibilisers are used to ensure optimal filler-polymer compatibility. Hence, we have investigated the effect of compatibilisation strategies of olive pits (OP) flour content (10, 20, 30, and 40%wt.) filled with recycled low-density polyethylene (rLDPE) on the chemical, physical, mechanical, and thermal behaviour of the developed biocomposites. In this study, we aim to investigate the filler-polymer compatibility in biocomposites by employing novel strategies for the functionalisation of OP filler and/or rLDPE matrix. Specifically, four cases are considered: untreated OP filled rLDPE (Case 1), treated OP filled rLDPE (Case 2), treated OP filled functionalised rLDPE (Case 3), and treated and functionalised OP filled functionalised rLDPE (Case 4). In general, the evaluation of the performance of biocomposites facilitated the application of OP industrial waste as an eco-friendly reinforcing agent for rLDPE-based biocomposites. Furthermore, surface treatment and compatibilisation improved the properties of the developed biocomposites over untreated filler or uncoupled biocomposites. Besides that, the compatibilisers used aided in reducing water uptake and improving thermal behaviour, which contributed to the stability of the manufactured biocomposites.