Development of nanocellulose-reinforced PLA nanocomposite by using maleated PLA (PLA-g-MA)

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© The Author(s) 2017. The goal of this research was improving the mechanical and physical properties of poly lactic acid (PLA) using cellulose nanofiber (CNF) as reinforcing and maleated PLA (PLA-g-MA) as a compatibilizer. PLA/nanocellulose composites were prepared through melt mixing with maleated PLA (5 wt%) and two levels of cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) (3 and 5 wt%) using twin screw extrusion. Nanocomposites fracture morphology, thermal properties, crystallization behavior, and mechanical behavior were determined as a function of cellulose nanofibers and PLA grafted on maleic anhydride content using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy, heat distortion temperature (HDT), impact, and tensile testing. The SEM micrographs confirmed the uniform dispersion of CNF within PLA matrix in the presence of maleated PLA. Among nanocellulose and compatibilizer, the latter one has better role in enhancement of nanocomposites HDT. Compatibilized nanocomposites (PLA/CNF5/PLAgMA5) exhibited maximum impact strength which was 131% higher than that of neat PLA. Compared to pure PLA, 138 and 40% improvements for the tensile strength and Young’s modulus can be obtained for the resulting nanocomposite with PLA/CNF5/PLAgMA5, respectively.

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Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials