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Effect of particles size on mechanical properties of polypropylene particulate composites

Eva Nezbedova (Polymer Institute Brno, Brno, Czech Republic)
Frantisek Krcma (Faculty of Chemistry, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
Zdenek Majer (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
Pavel Hutar (Institute of Physics of Materials, Brno, Czech Republic)

International Journal of Structural Integrity

ISSN: 1757-9864

Article publication date: 3 October 2016




Polymeric particulate composites with thermoplastics, especially polypropylene (PP) matrix with mineral fillers, are of great practical importance due to their simple possibility of modifying mechanical properties and reducing the price/volume ratio of the resulting material. Both filler properties and interface properties have a great effect on the mechanical properties, primarily on stiffness and toughness, of the resulting composite material. Good final dispersion of the filler particles also plays a very important role. To reach the best adhesion and distribution of the particles, various procedures are carried out for activation of the particles. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate and discuss the effect of using plasma as a tool for treating commercially available CaCO3 nanoparticles in PP matrix.


The effect of the composite structure on its mechanical properties was studied from an experimental as well as a theoretical point of view. For an experimental study, four PP matrix were chosen. For use as filler, the commercially available precipitated surface-treated calcium carbonate was chosen. The composites were prepared with 5, 10, and 15 wt% of fillers. The sequence of expositions of plasma was chosen to verify the optimal treatment duration. The filler particles were characterized by several structure analytical methods. The composite mechanical properties were characterized by tensile, bending, impact, and creep tests. The deformation behavior of the three-phase composite with homogeneously distributed coated particles was numerically simulated on a microscopic scale.


The main conclusions of this work can be summarized as follows: with the use of plasma to the precipitated calcium carbonate, composites with well-dispersed particles can be prepared; the surface modification using plasma is done mainly by grafting –OH groups onto the particles’ surface; a synergetic effect of modifier enhancing the performance was observed; performance modifier increases the resistance against viscoelastic strain; and the size of the particles and their volume content generally lead to increase in the macro modulus of the composite.


Plasma, as a tool for treating the inorganic fillers, enables to destroy the agglomerates in composite, which is the basic way on how to optimally utilize the synergetic effect of composite with PP matrix.



Nezbedova, E., Krcma, F., Majer, Z. and Hutar, P. (2016), "Effect of particles size on mechanical properties of polypropylene particulate composites", International Journal of Structural Integrity, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 690-699.



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