Hydrophobation of natural fibres for application in WPC materials

  • A. Barrio
  • A. Salvador
  • J. Hidalgo
  • I. Svensson
Keywords: Hydrophobation, WPC, Composites, NFPC, Fiber modification


The objective of the present study was to improve the method of hydrophobation of natural fibers for its application in WPC. For outdoor applications such as in decking’s and ventilated facades improved durability against weathering is desired. This problem is associated with the water adsorption of the natural cellulosic fibres. Commercial paper sizing agents AKD was used for the optimization of surface hydrophobation of natural fibres (wood flour; Rettenmaier BK 40/90). Parameters studied included: Application method, AKD brand, concentration, pH, elimination of extractives, catalyst and influence of temperature and pressure). As results, an important improvement against wetting was seen using contact-angle measurements on water drops. Anyhow the dynamic water vapor adsorption did not change notably by the AKD-treatment. Finally, treated fibres was prepared as compound to confirm potential reduced water adsorption of the resulting WPC material. The influence of the processing conditions was studied by hot pressing, injection molding and extrusion of the modified natural fibers and PP. Mechanical performance of the WPCs was determined in terms of bending and tensile test. It was concluded that the AKD treatment had a positive effect in the mechanical and water absorption properties of the composites. The processing conditions influenced in the water uptake of the composites being the best procedure injection molding and pressing. This work was performed within the EU-project HIFIVENT (GA: 605891) FP7-SME-2013.

How to Cite
Barrio, A., Salvador, A., Hidalgo, J., & Svensson, I. (2017). Hydrophobation of natural fibres for application in WPC materials. Academic Journal of Civil Engineering, 35(2), 448-451. https://doi.org/10.26168/icbbm2017.68