In this work, rice husks ash (RHA) was introduced to pure and recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE) matrix, at varying ration (0-50%) to formulate rice husks ash High density polyethylene (RHA-HDPE) composite. RHA was obtained by burning fresh rice husks either by open-air burning (oRHA) or furnace calcination at 700°C (fRHA). The composite samples were made by melt-mixing the HDPE in an oven at a temperature of 150°C and adding different percentages of RHA in presence of maleic anhydride compatibilizer. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were carried out to determine the structural properties of the samples, and both suggest occurrence of composting chemical changes. For all RHA-HDPE samples, a broad band was noted between 970-070cm-1. This was highly contributed by the RHA and associated to Si-O-Si stretching modes. Other peaks are associated with Si-O-C interaction and O-Si-O bending vibrations in the samples. Scanning electron Microscopy (SEM) micrographs for HDPE indicated a smooth and uniform surface with a number of voids. On addition of RHA, the particles filled these voids making the sample surface rough. This roughness is seen to increase with increased percentage of RHA. The studies conclude that the cheaply obtained oRHA is as good as the fRHA in making RHA-HDPE composite.
Key words: RHA-HDPE composites, maleic anhydride compatibilizer, rice husks, rice husks ash, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR, scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
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