Conductive Polymer Composites Made from Polypropylene and Recycled Graphite Scrap


Electric Discharge Machining (EDM) process uses electrodes made from graphite that wear out over time and are turned into scrap. In this research, EDM electrode scraps were recycled and turned into graphite powder (rGP). This rGP was used as a conductive filler to produce conductive polymer composite (CPC) material by combining it with polypropylene (PP) resin via melt compounding and compression moulding processes. The percolation threshold of this composite material changed when 30 wt% of rGP was added, whereby the insulative material changed became antistatic. The composite was able to achieve surface resistivity as low as 105 ohm/sq. However, the addition of higher rGP content deteriorated the tensile properties of composite, whereby the tensile strength of composite significantly decreased as compared to neat PP. The results also showed that the tensile modulus of this composite became higher, and the material became more brittle as compared to neat PP. However, the PP/rGP composite with 50 wt% filler content reduced the tensile modulus due to plasticising effect caused by the agglomeration of rGP. The addition of high filler content on PP/rGP composite also caused an increase in processing torque. This was due to the restriction of rGP particles to the melt flow of molten PP. The morphological analysis found that the PP/rGP composites with higher amounts of filler content were highly agglomerated and formed conductivity paths within the PP matrix. The increase of rGP content highly improved the thermal stability of composite. The findings of this study show that the rGP has the potential to be used as a conductive filler for producing conductive composite material.