Leather Waste to Enhance Mechanical Performance of High-Density Polyethylene
Delgado Aguilar, Marc
Espinach Orús, Xavier
Fullana i Palmer, Pere
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Leather buffing dust (BF) is a waste from tannery which is usually disposed on landfills. The interest in using wastes as fillers or reinforcements for composites has raised recently due to environmental concerns. This study investigates the potential use of BF waste as filler for a high density polyethylene matrix (HDPE). A series of HDPE-BF composites, containing filler concentrations ranging from 20 to 50wt%, were formulated, injection molded and tested. The effect of filler contents on the mechanical properties of the composites were evaluated and discussed. Composites with BF contents up to 30wt% improved the tensile strength and Young's modulus of the matrix, achieving similar mechanical properties to polypropylene (PP). In the case of flexural strength, it was found to be proportionally enhanced by increasing reinforcement content, maintaining high impact strength. These composites present great opportunities for PP application areas that require higher impact resistance. The materials were submitted to a series of closed-loop recycling cycles in order to assess their recyclability, being able to maintain better tensile strength than virgin HDPE after 5 cycles. The study develops new low-cost and sustainable composites by using a waste as composite filler.