Ashori, A.

Composite Materials 47 (2): 149–154

2013

Rice straw is an abundantly available and potentially valuable biomass that is currently underexploited. In the present
work, the reinforcing effects of nanoparticles (silica and clay) on the rice straw / polypropylene composites have been
studied. In the sample preparation, four levels of loading (0–3 wt%) were used for nanoparticles. In order to increase the
interphase adhesion, polypropylene grafted with maleic anhydride was added as coupling agent to all the composites
studied. The mechanical properties, namely, the tensile modulus, flexural modulus, notched Izod impact strength, and
elongation at break of the composites were determined. The results showed that while tensile and flexural moduli and
elongation were moderately improved by the increase in the amount of nanoparticles in the matrix, Izod impact
strengths decreased dramatically. The flexural and tensile moduli increased with increase of nanoclay up to 2 wt%.
However, beyond this amount, mentioned properties decreased. Generally, high amount (3 wt%) of nano-size particles
in the composites can lead to the reduction of interfacial adhesion between matrix polymer and filler, and it limits their
applications. Transmission electron microscopy revealed the existence of uniform intercalated nanoclay dispersed
throughout the matrix at 1 and 2 wt% loading. The mechanical properties of composites filled with nanoclay are generally
greater than nanosilica composites.