Thermal and Diffusion Characterization of High Density Polyethylene/Cellulose Blend Inoculated with Aspergillus niger Fungus

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Author(s) Michael Nakitare Waswa | Abdallah S Merenga | Charles M Migwi
Pages 320-327
Volume 3
Issue 6
Date June, 2014
Keywords High density polyethylene, biodegradability, Aspergillus niger, inoculation.

Wider applications of plastics in packaging and agriculture have raised serious issue of waste disposal and pollution. The synthetic plastics normally resist microbial degradation and persist in the environment for longer times. This study focused on the effect of inoculating high density polyethylene/cellulose (HDPE/CELL) blends with Aspergillus niger on their diffusion thermal properties with a view to enhance biodegradability. HDPE granules and cellulose powder from acacia cell-sap were used to prepare the samples by hot pressing their molten mixture. Water absorption of the blends was evaluated by their immersion in water at room temperature for six weeks. Diffusion coefficients were determined using Ficks’ model. The results indicate that water uptake increases with CELL loading and further on inoculation. The thermal degradation and thermal stability of HDPE/CELL blends in oxidative environment were studied using thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA). The non isothermal kinetics of the decomposition processes were analyzed using the Broido integral method. Thermal stability of the blends decreased with CELL intake and on inoculation. The activation energies related to the correspondent reactions decreased after inoculation.

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