Thermomechanical Properties of Virgin and Recycled Polypropylene—High-Density Polyethylene Blends

Hannah Jones, Jake McClements, Dipa Ray, Colin S Hindle, Michail Kalloudis, Vasileios Koutsos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper provides evidence and discusses the variability in the thermomechanical behaviour of virgin and recycled polypropylene/high-density polyethylene blends without the addition of other components, which is sparse in the literature. Understanding the performance variability in recycled polymer blends is of critical importance in order to facilitate the re-entering of recycled materials to the consumer market and, thus, contribute towards a circular economy. This is an area that requires further research due to the inhomogeneity of recycled materials. Therefore, the thermal and mechanical properties of virgin and recycled polypropylene/high-density polyethylene blends were investigated systematically. Differential scanning calorimetry concludes that both the recycled and virgin blends are immiscible. Generally, recycled blends have lower overall crystallinity and melting temperatures compared with virgin blends while, remarkably, their crystallisation temperatures are compared favourably. Dynamical mechanical analysis showed little variation in the storage modulus of recycled and virgin blends. However, the alpha and beta relaxation temperatures are lower in recycled blends due to structural deterioration. Deterioration in the thermal and mechanical properties of recycled blends is thought to be caused by the presence of contaminants and structural degradation during reprocessing, resulting in shorter polymeric chains and the formation of imperfect crystallites. The tensile properties of recycled blends are also affected by the recycling process. The Young’s modulus and yield strength of the recycled blends are inferior to those of virgin blends due to the deterioration during the recycling process. However, the elongation at break of the recycled blends is higher compared with the virgin blends, possibly due to the plasticity effect of the low-molecular-weight chain fragments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4200
JournalPolymers
Volume15
Issue number21
Early online date24 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • blends
  • polyethylene
  • polypropylene
  • recycled
  • thermomechanical properties

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