Compatibilizer selection to improve mechanical and moisture properties of extruded wood-HDPE composites

Mohammed Jahangir A. Chowdhury, Michael P. Wolcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Copolymer additives can be useful to enhance the compatibility and interfacial adhesion between polar wood materials and nonpolar polyolefin. This improved interaction among materials can lead to improved performance attributes, especially for those properties influenced by the interphase region. Although considerable scientific research has been conducted on compatibilizers for wood-polypropylene composites, much less work has addressed commercially viable formulations of wood and polyethylene. A literature review and comparative engineering analysis of the efficiency of different compatibilizers was conducted and used to guide material selection. Application methods, possible adhesion mechanisms, and performance are summarized. In this research, the efficacy of various forms of maleated polyethylene, maleated polypropylene and ethylene acrylic acid copolymer in a commercial-like extrusion process for wood flour-HDPE composites is presented. The various types of wood-HDPE formulations were extruded using a 55-mm conical twin-screw extruder with intermeshing counter-rotating screws. Mechanical properties of these composites were evaluated by static 3-point bending. The durability issues of the extruded composites related to prolonged exposure to moisture were also examined. The physical and mechanical properties of the extruded composites are significantly improved by the use of maleated polyethylene, MAPE-575 and maleated polypropylene, MAPP-950 copolymers. The effect of prolonged moisture exposure is also significant. About 20 to 30 percent reduction in strength was observed for various types of extruded composites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalForest Products Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • General Materials Science
  • Plant Science


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