“Green” composites from recycled cellulose and poly(lactic acid): Physico-mechanical and morphological properties evaluation

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Green”/biobased composites were prepared from poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and recycled cellulose fibers (from newsprint) by extrusion followed by injection molding processing. The physico-mechanical and morphological properties of the composites were investigated as a function of varying amounts of cellulose fibers. Compared to the neat resin, the tensile and flexural moduli of the composites were significantly higher. This is due to higher modulus of the reinforcement added to the PLA matrix. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) results also confirmed that the storage modulus of PLA increased on reinforcements with cellulose fibers indicating the stress transfers from the matrix resin to cellulose fiber. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) showed that the presence of cellulose fibers did not significantly affect the crystallinity, or the thermal decomposition of PLA matrix up to 30 wt% cellulose fiber content. Overall it was concluded that recycled cellulose fibers from newsprint could be a potential reinforcement for the high performance biodegradable polymer composites.

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