Written Paper

Comparison of Polylactic Acid/Kenaf and Polylactic Acid/Rise Husk Composites: The Influence of the Natural Fibers on the Mechanical, Thermal and Biodegradability Properties  [2010]

Yussuf, A. A. Massoumi, I. Hassan, A.

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This paper investigates and compares the performances of polylactic acid (PLA)/kenaf (PLA-K) and PLA/rice husk (PLA-RH) composites in terms of biodegradability, mechanical and thermal properties. Composites with natural fiber weight content of 20% with fiber sizes of less than 100 μm were produced for testing and characterization. A twin-screw extrusion was used to compound PLA and natural fibers, and extruded composites were injection molded to test samples. Flexural and Izod impact test, TGA, soil burial test and SEM were used to investigate properties. All results were compared to a pure PLA matrix sample. The flexural modulus of the PLA increased with the addition of natural fibers, while the flexural strength decreased. The highest impact strength (34 J m⁻¹), flexural modulus (4.5 GPa) and flexural strength (90 MPa) were obtained for the composite made of PLA/kenaf (PLA-K), which means kenaf natural fibers are potential to be used as an alternative filler to enhance mechanical properties. On the other hand PLA-RH composite exhibits lower mechanical properties. The impact strength of PLA has decreased when filled with natural fibers; this decrease is more pronounced in the PLA-RH composite. In terms of thermal stability it has been found that the addition of natural fibers decreased the thermal stability of virgin PLA and the decrement was more prominent in the PLA-RH composite. Biodegradability of the composites slightly increased and reached 1.2 and
0.8% for PLA-K and PLA-RH respectively for a period of 90 days. SEM micrographs showed poor interfacial between the polymer matrix and natural fibers.

From the journal

Journal of polymers and the environment

ISSN : 1566-2543