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Iranian researchers from Isfahan University of Technology used pistachio shell to produce a new type of nanocomposite which has high tensile strength.
The nanocomposite can be used in building industry, and it is resistant to humidity, loss of color and various types of fungi and insects.
In this research, the powder of pistachio shell was used as the filler of heavy polyethylene matrix. In addition, the effect of the presence of nano clay (cloisite 20A) and optical stabilizers was studied on tensile properties, impact, loss of color and resistance to weathering of the produced plastic wood composite.
Iran has always been among the top producers of pistachio in the world, and it annually produces and exports thousands of tons of pistachio to other countries. Therefore, it is very easy to have access to pistachio shell in the country as agricultural waste. On the other hand, the structure of pistachio shell and its components, specifically cellulose, make this material an appropriate choice for the production of composites. Pistachio shell contains cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin.
The greatest advantage of plastic wood composite is its very good compatibility with the environment. This material is made of useless pieces of wood and recyclable plastic materials, and it has less maintenance cost in comparison with rough wood. It also has high resistance against decay, fungi and insects.
Based on the obtained results, the best increase in tensile strength and tensile module takes place when three weight sections of nanoparticles are used. When the amount increases to six, the opposite result is achieved. Tensile strength increases 27% when the amount of nanoclay increases from zero to three weight sections, while it decreases 4% when the concentration reaches six weight sections.
Results of the research have been published in Polymers and Polymer Composites, vol. 22, issue 4, April 2014, pp. 409-416.
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