Fiber Reinforced Composites with Recycled Polystyrene Additives and Natural Fibers


The disposal of the large amount of polystyrene foam waste has prompted an environmental problem. The possibility for utilizing this polystyrene product waste to act as a low profile additive was investigated. Low-profile thermoplastic additives are primarily employed to limit the volume shrinkage during curing of unsaturated polyester composites. A novel process has been developed to recycle polystyrene foam by dissolving it in non-volatile soybean oil esters in place of styrene. This substitution eliminates the environmentally unfriendly vapors emitted by styrene without significantly jeopardizing the composite properties. The resin systems were systematically compared in terms of pertinent chemical and mechanical properties. Polyester resin systems augmented with soy oil esters - polystyrene showed improved elongation than the unmodified polyester resins, because the co-polymer is more flexible than the conventional polyester resin. Natural fiber-reinforced composites based on the low profile resin systems were successfully manufactured. Finally, mechanical and chemical properties were tested for comparison with virgin polyester resin.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2002 Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2002