Mechanical performance of rotationally molded multilayer mLDPE/banana-fiber composites

Jake Kelly-Walley*, Zaida Ortega*, Mark McCourt, Bronagh Millar, Luis Suarez , Peter Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

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The incorporation of materials different from the polymer within the rotational molding process usually results in lowered mechanical properties, where impact strength is of particular concern. In order to overcome this issue, multilayer structures of virgin polyethylene (PE) and banana fiber composites were prepared to determine the impact of the different layers on the performance of the final part. Cycle time has been studied to identify the influence of the addition of fibers in the process. The tensile, flexural and impact properties have been analyzed, finding improvements in Young’s modulus of up to 13%, although at the expense of significant decreases in impact strength. A reduction in the fiber size due to the pulverization process was observed, which affected the rheological and mechanical behavior of the composite. The beneficial effects of working in multiple layers have been demonstrated in this work, where composites with up to 5% of banana fiber have been produced in two-layer structures. Finally, the need to add neat polyethylene in the external layer is also highlighted as a way to counteract the reductions in mechanical properties, particularly for flexural elastic modulus and tensile strength, and this also helps with the drop in impact behavior to a lower extent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6749
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2023


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