Date of Award
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Ali H. Al-Marzouqi
Muhammad Z. Iqbal
A stunning global demand for paper products is marked by >350 million tons of paper produced annually, leading to a rise in deforestation and consequently glob warming. Therefore, an alternative to wood-based paper would be of high interest. The main aim of this thesis proposal was to develop a polymer composite sheet using a low-cost filler (natural sand) and polymer (high-density polyethene, HDPE) as a replacement for the traditionally used wood fibre-based sheets. The polymer composites sheets were prepared by melting extrusion in a melt blender followed by compression moulding. The effects of changing filler and polymer concentrations and the use of a compatibilizer were investigated on the mechano-chemical performance properties of the composite sheets such as morphology, thermal and mechanical properties, and wettability characteristics used for printing applications.
In terms of thermal stability, the addition of filler (sand) or compatibilizer (polyethene-grafted maleic anhydride, PE-g-MA) did not change the melting, crystallization or degradation temperatures significantly, thereby promoting good thermal stability of the prepared sheets. The results obtained from the contact angle measurements showed that the addition of a compatibilizer improved water-wettability characteristics. For instance, a slight increase in the contact angle was observed for sheets prepared from 5 μm of sand particles at 35 wt% of the composition, from 92.08° to 99.4°, thereby supporting increased anti-wetting properties. Another example of improved wettability performance was in the case of printing ink. For or the sheets prepared from 25 μm sand particles, at 35 wt% of the composition, the contact angle decreased from44° to 38.30° with the addition of the compatibilizer, suggesting improved ink-wetting performance. A decrease in the elastic modulus was also observed with the addition of the compatibilizer. For compatibilized sheets prepared with 5 μm filler at 35 wt%, the elastic modulus decreased from 887.47 MPa before compatibilization to 687 MPa after compatibilization, which was quite comparable to regular A4 paper (175.18 MPa), as well as to the commercial stone paper (596.32 MPa), implying that the prepared sheet had tensile property (10.98 MPa) in between the regular A4 paper (15.66 MPa) and stone paper (6.17 MPa), which was obtained experimentally as well. The results from this study will be considered as a first step toward understanding the compatibility of natural sand and polymers for paper manufacturing applications. In addition, the current study will also contribute to UAE’s 2021 vision of sustainability.
Siraj, Sidra, "PREPARATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF SAND/POLYMER COMPOSITE SHEETS FOR PRINTING APPLICATIONS" (2021). Theses. 891.