keywords: Waste, fibre, composite, polymer, plastics
Composites of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and tea leaves waste fibres were produced. Modulus of rupture, flammability, water absorption and hardness tests were carried out. Modulus of rupture test showed that increase of fibre in composite decreased the modulus of rupture, while increase of PET in composite increased the modulus of rupture. This could be because of the poor interface of bonding between hydrophilic fibre and hydrophobic polymer matrix. The burning rate increased with increase in the amount of PET but decreased with increase in the amount of fibres. This was ascribed to the high heating value of polymer matrix against that of fibres. The water absorption test showed that increase of fibre in the composite increased the amount of water absorbed while increase in PET decreased water absorption. This was attributed to hydrophilic property of fibre which increases the attraction to water by the formation of hydrogen bonding. However, increase in PET decreased the water absorption due to hydrophobicity of the polymer matrix. The Meyer’s hardness test showed that increase in amount of fibre decreased the hardness while high amount of PET increased hardness. This was credited to the ability of the polymer matrix to bind the fibre strongly in order to form a hard solid composite structure. Increasing fibre in composite led to soft material because it became less likely for the polymer matrix to bind strongly to the fibre.