Mechanical and microstructural characterization of rubber particle reinforced thermoplastic for automobile bumper application

Thermoplastic elastomer composite produced from low-density polyethylene (LD-PE) mixed with 150 μm pulverised rubber particles in varied proportions (5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25%) using stir casting technique was characterized for mechanical properties in relation to the base polyethylene. Tensile, impact, flexural, and hardness tests were conducted to investigate the mechanical properties of the elastomer. The results obtained showed that the reinforcement with up to 20% wt of pulverised rubber particle generated a composite with a higher modulus of elasticity of 374MPa and hardness of 14.06BHN relative to those of the base material which are 227 MPa and 11.48 BHN respectively. However, the bending strength and the impact energy of the generated composite are 40MPa and 19.5 J, which are lower than those of the base material, which are 57 MPa and 20 J. This may be due to insufficient adhesion between the phases of the matrix and reinforcement.

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