Waleed Ahmed, Sidra Siraj, Ali H. Al-Marzouqi

Jul 23, 2021
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Silica exhibits properties such that its addition into polymeric materials can result in an enhanced overall quality and improved characteristics and as a result silica has been widely used as a filler material for improving the rheological properties of polymeric materials. The usage of polymers in three dimensional printing technology has grown exponentially, which has increased the amount of waste produced during this process. Several polymers, such as polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), polylactic acid (PLA), and nylon, are applied in this emerging technology. In this study, the effect of the addition of silica as a filler on the mechanical, thermal, and bulk density properties of the composites prepared from the aforementioned polymeric waste was studied. In addition, the morphology of the composite materials was characterized via scanning electron microscopy. The composite samples were prepared with various silica concentrations using a twin extruder followed by hot compression. Generally, the addition of silica increased the tensile strength of the polymers. For instance, the tensile strength of PVA with 5 wt% filler increased by 76 MPa, whereas those of PP and PLA with 10 wt% filler increased by 7.15 and 121.03 MPa, respectively. The crystallinity of the prepared composite samples ranged from 14% to 35%, which is expected in a composite system. Morphological analysis revealed the random dispersion of silica particles and agglomerate formation at high silica concentrations. The bulk density of the samples decreased with increased amount of filler addition. The addition of silica influenced the changes in the characteristics of the polymeric materials. Furthermore, the properties presented in this study can be used to further study the engineering design, transportation, and production processes, promoting the recycling and reuse of such waste in the same technology with the desired properties.
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