The objective of this work was to improve the impact and thermal properties of polylactic acid (PLA)-based biocomposite by appropriate application of cellulosic fiber and a bioelastomer. Biocomposites formulations with fiber contents of up to 20% in combination with a bioelastomer were extrusion-compounded in a twin-screw extruder followed by molding in an injection molding system. Fibers used in the formulations included three types of cellulosic fiber; namely, raw fiber from oat hull biomass (RF), hydrolysis byproduct (ATF) which was the solid fraction obtained from an acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of RF, and delignified fibers (AD30, AD65, AD100) which were the products of delignification of ATF. Formulated biocomposites were characterized for thermal (glass transition and melting temperatures, and enthalpy of melting) and physico-mechanical (tensile and bending strengths, stiffness, impact energy, and water absorption) properties. Among all types of biofibers, RF resulted in poor properties in the biocomposites due to the high hemicellulose content in the structure. On the other hand, the ratio of lignin to cellulose (in the absence of hemicellulose) in the modified fibers did not significantly affect the physico-mechanical and thermal properties of the biocomposites. The elastomer applied in the formulations improved the impact energy, thermal properties, and elongation at break of the composites. However, it adversely affected the strength and water resistance of biocomposites, especially in the presence of hemicellulose. The results indicated that, depending on the application, a wide range of PLA green composites with different physico-mechanical properties can be achieved.
Journal of Polymers and the Environment – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 25, 2017
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