Studies on the Impact Resistance of Cashew Nutshell Powder and Calcium Carbonate Filled Polypropylene


Studies on the Impact Resistance of Cashew Nutshell Powder and Calcium Carbonate Filled Polypropylene



1.1 Background of the Study

Particle reinforced plastics composites (PRPCs) are composites to which fillers (discrete particles) have been added to modify or improve the properties of the matrix and/or replace some of the matrix volume with a less expensive material. Common applications of PRPCs include structural materials in construction, packaging, automobile tires, medicine, etc. Determination of effective properties of composites is an essential problem in many engineering applications (Van, 2003 and Love, 2004).

These properties are influenced by the size, shape, properties and spatial distributions of the reinforcement (Liu, 1995 and Lee, 1998).

Modification of organic polymers through incorporation of additives yield, with few exceptions, multiphase systems containing the additive embedded in a continuous polymeric matrix. The resulting mixtures are characterised by unique microstructures that are responsible for their properties. Polymer composites are mixtures of polymers with inorganic or organic additives having certain geometries. Thus, they consist of two or more components and two or more phases. In addition to polymer composites, other important types of modified polymer systems include polymer-polymer blends and polymeric forms. Blending procedures had been employed since time immemorial. The principle of blending is geared towards achieving property averaging. A blend is therefore the physical mixture of two or more substances, without a chemical bond, (Mamza, 2011).

Among the various studies carried out with particle filled PP worth mentioning, are works by Maiti and Mahapatro (1992 and 2011) on the tensile and impact behaviour of nickel powder-filled PP and CaCO3 filled PP composites. It was discovered that the addition of nickel-powder causes decrease in tensile modulus, tensile strength and elongation-at-break with increasing filler. In the case of the addition of CaCO3, tensile modulus increased while tensile strength and elongation-at-break decreased with increasing filler. Izod impact strength for the composites at first application of filler loading increased up to a critical filler content, beyond which the value decreased inappreciably.

Research problem

The filler cashew nutshell powder (CNSP) has been under utilised, in composite formulation, as it is considered as waste material especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. Thus, there is need to convert this waste to wealth meanwhile this conversion would serve as an environmental waste control.

Aim and objectives

The main aim of this work was to determine the impact resistance of cashew nutshell powder and calcium carbonate used as fillers for polypropylene.

The specific objectives of the study are;

Collection of samples from the outlet centre and preparation of samples. Determination and characterisation of cashew nutshell powder using X-ray diffraction analysis. To carryout mechanical tests such as hardness, tensile strength, elongation at break, impact resistance and to carry out sorption test on the produced samples, Determination of microstructure of the processed samples using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).


Cashew nut shell powder as one of the fillers used in this research can reduce the cost of production of articles compared to the commercially available fillers. It can create job opportunity locally, by paying people supplying it for the researchers. The use of cashew nutshell powder as filler can help to reduce environmental pollution caused by the shell, this is because, it is biodegradable and it can decay and becomes a pollutant to the society.

Scope of the study To prepare and characterise CNSP filler To fill cashew nutshell powder in polypropylene To fill calcium carbonate in polypropylene To carry out mechanical tests on the prepared composite, such as hardness, tensile strength, elongation at break, sorption test, and impact resistance To compare the impact resistance of cashew nutshell powder and calcium carbonate filled polypropylene.

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