Biodegradable Green Composite Boards for Industrial Application 2008-01-2625
Western Canada has large acreage of oilseed flax, but unfortunately a small percentage of total crop residue (flax straw) produced annually is being commercially used. Therefore, farmers are still burning the flax straw. Flax fiber and straw has highest strength amongst the different natural fibers, therefore, the prospect of using them as biorenewable reinforcement in recycled/ virgin polymer matrices has gained attention in recent years. Flax strawboard has a potential to replace the currently used wood and other crop like wheat/barley straw boards for different industrial application. In this research Oilseed flax straw reinforced composite boards were developed using flax shives with biopolymer binder made out of recycled/ pure thermo plastic and flax fiber. Some advantages of such materials are high strength, low density, good insulation capacity against heat and moisture transfer, and biodegradability. Pure and recycled HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) with two different percentages of flax fiber and three percentages of flax shives were assessed to make biocomposite boards. The flax fiber was chemically treated to improve the bond between the fiber and polymer. The recycled plastic was also cleaned properly before processing. According to binder formulations, ingredients were mixed and extruded using a twin screw extruder. The extruded materials were ground and used as binder for flax shives at specific ratios. The bio-composite boards were manufactured by applying heat under compression. Physical and mechanical properties of the bio-composite boards were studied by performing ASTM tests.