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IV Organic Particulate Fillers

Fillers from Organic Sources

16

Roger Rothon

Contents

Definition........................................................................................ 316

Introduction...................................................................................... 316

General........................................................................................... 316

Products Obtained by Size Reduction of Plant Material....................................... 317

Wood Flour.................................................................................. 317

Products Obtained by Extraction of Particulate Material from Plant Matter.................. 320

Starch......................................................................................... 321

Cellulose..................................................................................... 322

Lignin........................................................................................ 323

Proteins....................................................................................... 324

Rice Hulls.................................................................................... 324

Cross-References................................................................................ 325

References....................................................................................... 325

Abstract

While the growing interest in sustainable sourcing has led to a revival of interest in particulate fillers derived from biomaterial sources, this is nothing new. Wood flour was one of the first fillers used in plastics, and rice hull-derived silica was being promoted for use in place of some carbon blacks in the 1970s.

In addition to their sustainability credentials, many of these fillers offer other advantages, particularly weight saving, over minerals. On the other hand, they frequently have a number of limitations including higher cost, poorer thermal stability, color issues, and moisture sensitivity which have hindered their acceptance. Even so, renewed effort is going into their development, especially that of nano-sized particles.

R. Rothon (*)

Rothon Consultants and Manchester Metropolitan University, Guilden Sutton, Chester, UK e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

R. Rothon (ed.), Fillers for Polymer Applications, Polymers and Polymeric Composites: A Reference Series, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-28117-9_22

Wood flour is the standout commercial example today, with large volume use in wood polymer composites. Starch, cellulose, lignin, and even proteins are being explored as nanoparticles, especially for tire use. Although their use as a carbon black replacement failed to develop, rice hulls are still being developed for other applications and even as a raw material for precipitated silica filler manufacture.

Keywords

Bio-fillers • Wood flour • Cellulose • Starch • Lignin • Proteins • Rice hulls • Coupling agents

Definition

Particulate bio-fillers in the present context refer to products which are derived from plant sources and have low-aspect ratio particles (under 10:1), when dispersed in a polymer. The actual products can be either organic (e.g., wood flour, starch) or inorganic (e.g., rice hull ash (RHA)) in nature. Higher-aspect ratio (fibrous) products, such as silk, rayon, refined cellulose, etc., are excluded.

Introduction

While some of the earliest particulate fillers were based on plant materials such as wood, they were soon surpassed by inorganics such as calcium carbonate and talc. Recently there has been a revival of interest in organics, mainly due to the desire to have more sustainable and lighter products. Lightweighting is also becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry, and most plant-derived products have a clear advantage over mineral ones in this respect. While much of the current development is directed at the use of natural fibers such as wood, cellulose, hemp, silk, and rayon, there is starting to be some attention given to particulates. The main products of this type are wood flour, starch, and rice hull silica. Most of the current literature is in trade publications and patents, rather than peer-reviewed journals, and the current understanding, which is largely based on these, is discussed in this article.

 
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