keywords: Cellulose content, Eucalyptus globulus sawdust, Mercerization, Polymer Composite, Mechanical properties
This work is centered on the production of polymer composite (PC) from recycled low density polyethylene (rLDPE) matrix and Eucalyptus globulus sawdust (EGS) fibre. The raw EGS fibres were chemically treated with sodium hydroxide at varying concentrations and time. An optimal cellulose yield of 74.6% was obtained at an optimum condition of 3% NaOH treatment for 2 h. This treated EG cellulose is then used as reinforcement in recycled low density polyethylene. The recycled polymer matrix and the EGS fibre were compounded and processed into a polymer composite using a two rolling mill with an automated compression moulding machine, operated at a temperature of 1550C and pressure of 4Pa for 15 min. The mechanical properties of the treated polymer composite in terms of flexural strength (12.75MPa), tensile strength (10.64MPa), hardness (13.52MPa), elastic modulus (244.78MPa) and elongation (5.19%) recorded better outcome compared to the polymer composite produced from raw untreated EGS fibre. Similarly, the treated composite, recorded less water absorption capacity (0.92%) due to the positive effect of the chemical treatment on the EGS fibres, which reduces its hydrophilic property to moisture degradation. The PC produced can find application in indoor and outdoor purposes.