Optimization of thermoplastic elastomer foams based on PP and recycled rubber
|Abstract:||This investigation focuses on the production and characterization of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) based on polypropylene and recycled vulcanized rubber, as well as their foams. The first part of this study is related to the characterization of polypropylene/recycled ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (PP/r-EPDM) (50/50) blends modified with polypropylene-graft-maleic anhydride (PP-g-MA) (0 to 8% wt.). In particular, the effect of feeding order in a twin-screw extruder and blend composition are investigated. From the samples produced via injection molding, a comparison is made based on blend morphology and mechanical properties (impact, tension, and flexion), as well as density and hardness. In the second step of the work, PP/r-EPDM blends are produced through twin-screw extrusion followed by injection molding. In this case, the effect of r-EPDM concentration (up to 65% wt.), feeding order and feeding position along the extruder screw are studied and the blends are compared in terms of morphology and mechanical properties. Finally, the optimum processing conditions obtained in the first two parts are used to produce PP/r-EPDM foams via injection molding. For these samples, the effect of r-EPDM (0 to 65% wt.) and chemical foaming agent (azodicarbonamide) (up to 1.5% wt.) contents, as well as injection conditions (mold temperature (30 and 70 °C) and shot size) are studied with respect to morphology (cell size, cell density, and skin thickness) and mechanical properties (impact, tension, and flexion), as well as density and hardness. The results show that incorporation of r-EPDM leads to a substantial improvement of PP impact strength (up to 329%), while the addition of PP-g-MA as a coupling agent is not necessary in this system due to good adhesion between the PP matrix and dispersed r-EPDM particles. In addition, it is found that the feeding order of each component in the extruder has a direct effect on blend properties. Consequently, feeding the r-EPDM in the first zone and PP in the fourth zone of the extruder leads to smaller r-EPDM particles because of the longer residence time and direct shear/elongational stresses applied on the r-EPDM particles in the first section of the extruder. Finally, the results show that it is more difficult to produce a good foam structure with increasing r-EPDM content.|
|Document Type:||Thèse de doctorat|
|Open Access Date:||20 April 2018|
|Collection:||Thèses et mémoires|
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