The effect of chemical treatments with acetic anhydride, potassium chlorate, sodium hydroxide and zinc chloride on the properties of Oil Palm Petiole Fiber composites was studied. The untreated and chemically treated Oil Palm Petiole Fiber (OPPF) was used in fabricating natural fiber/HDPE composites using injection molding machine. The chemical treatments on OPPF enhanced its chemical compositions and morphology. It was observed that the cellulose content at the peak for different treatment are 58.4%, 56.7%, 55.2% and 51.5% at 4wt% concentration for NaOH, KClO3, C4H6O3 and ZnCl respectively. The composites produced with chemically treated fibers performed better than the untreated one. The highest tensile strength of 44.2 Mpa, 39.1 Mpa, 35.6 Mpa, 31.2 Mpa and 25.5 Mpa was obtained at fiber content of 29 wt% for OPPF treated with NaOH, KClO3, C4H6O3, ZnCl and untreated OPPF respectively. Water absorbed by the untreated fiber was high compared to the chemically treated fiber. The chemical treatment created a better interfacial bonding and could be responsible for the improved mechanical properties.
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