Using extractive-free wood as a reinforcement in wood-LLDPE composites
Hot water extractives, solvent extractives and both hot water and solvent extractives were eliminated from different wood species via Soxhlet extraction. Different wood-linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) composites were prepared using 10% wood and 7% poly(ethylene-co-vinyl alcohol) as a compatibilizer. A comparison of the mechanical properties, water absorption behaviour and resistance to UV radiation between composites filled with unextracted wood and composites filled with the same species but without the above extractives were carried out. The results illustrated that there are several distinct benefits and drawbacks when using wood without extractives as a filler. Unextracted wood produced composites with better mechanical properties and resistance to UV radiation, while extracted wood led to composites with lower water absorption rates. Using wood without both hot water and solvent extractives as a filler caused the largest reduction in mechanical properties, UV resistance and water absorption rate, compared to composites made with wood where only one extractive component was removed. © 2012 The Author(s).