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Interfacial Interactions

Particle/particle interactions induce aggregation, while matrix/filler interactions lead to the development of an interphase with properties different from those of both components. Secondary, van der Waals forces play a crucial role in the development of both kinds of interactions. They are usually modified by the surface treatment of the filler. Reactive treatment, i.e., coupling, is also used occasionally, although its importance is smaller in thermoplastics than in thermoset matrices.

Filler Characteristics

The chemical composition of fillers, which is usually supplied by the producer as relevant information, is not sufficient for their characterization (Pukanszky 1995); further physical, mostly particle characteristics are needed to forecast their performance in a composite for any application (Pukanszky 1995). A large variety of materials are used as fillers in composites. Besides CaCO3 and carbon black (see Table 1), a large number of other materials like mica (Riley et al. 1990; Verbeek and Christopher 2012), short (Folkes and Wong 1987; Olmos et al. 2011) and long (Voelker 1991; Cilleruelo et al. 2012) glass fibers, glass beads (Meddad and Fisa 1997; Jerabek et al. 2010), sepiolite (Bokobza et al. 2004; Bilotti et al. 2008), magnesium and aluminum hydroxide (Hornsby and Watson 1989; Velasco et al. 2002), wood flour and cellulose (Bledzki and Gassan 1999; Bledzki et al. 2002; Danyadi et al. 2007a, b; Renner et al. 2009, 2010), wollastonite (Hadal et al. 2004a, b), gypsum (Molnar et al. 2009; Imre et al. 2012), clay (Riley et al. 1990), metal powders (aluminum, iron, nickel) (Bigg 1987; Maiti and Mahapatro 1989), steel fibers (Bridge et al. 1988), silicium carbide (Bigg 1987), phenolic microspheres (Zuchowska and Hlavata 1991), and diverse flame retardants (Bajaj et al. 1987) are also mentioned as potential fillers or reinforcements.

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