Development of glass microballoon/HDPE syntactic foams by compression molding

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Thermoplastic resins are widely used in consumer products and industrial components. There is a significant interest in weight reduction of many of those components. Although glass hollow particle filled lightweight syntactic foams with thermoset matrices have been studied in detail, studies on thermoplastic syntactic foams are scarce. The present study is focused on developing a compression molding based processing method for glass microballoon/high density polyethylene (GMB/HDPE) syntactic foams and studying their mechanical properties to develop structure-property correlations. Blending of GMB in HDPE is carried out using a Brabender mixer with processing parameters optimized for minimal filler breakage. Flexural and tensile test specimens are compression molded with 20, 40 and 60 vol% of GMB. Particle fracture increases with increasing GMB content due to increased particle to particle interaction during processing. Additionally, increasing wall thickness makes GMBs stronger and results in reduced particle fracture. Flexural modulus increases while strength decreases with increasing filler content. Tensile strength decreases with increasing filler content, while tensile modulus is relatively unchanged. GMB volume fraction has a more prominent effect than the wall thickness on the mechanical properties of syntactic foams. Specific moduli of GMB/HDPE foams are superior while specific strength is comparable to neat HDPE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


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