In this paper, we study the effect of the addition of wood flour as a filler in a recycled polyethylene (r-PE) in view of its potential applications in 3D printing. The composites, prepared by melt mixing, are characterized with torque measurements performed during the compounding, dynamic rotational rheology, and infrared spectroscopy. Data show that the introduction of wood results in increased viscosity and in sensible viscous heating during the compounding. The r-PE appear to be stable at temperatures up to 180 degrees C while at higher temperatures the material shows a rheological response characterized by time-increasing viscoelastic moduli that suggests a thermal degradation governed by crosslinking reactions. The compounds (with wood loading up to 50% in wt.) also shows thermal stability at temperatures up to 180 degrees C. The viscoelastic behavior and the infrared spectra of the r-PE matrix suggests the presence of branches in the macromolecular structure due to the process. Although the addition of wood particles determines increased viscoelastic moduli, a solid-like viscoelastic response is not shown even for the highest wood concentrations. This behavior, due to a poor compatibility and weak interfacial adhesion between the two phases, is however promising in view of common processing technologies as extrusion or injection molding.
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