Reinforcement of Poly (Lactic Acid) with Spray-dried Lignocellulosic Material

Jérôme Colson, Adriana Kovalcik, Pavel Kucharczyk, Wolfgang Gindl-Altmutter

Abstract


Effects of the addition of spray-dried lignocellulosic material in polylactic acid (PLA) were evaluated in this work. The lignocellulosic material was produced by spray-drying unbleached fibrous material provided by a paper mill. Beforehand, this material was made hydrophobic in the sizing step of the papermaking process. We propose that size present on the lignocellulose powder may act as a potential alternative to commonly-used coupling agents in the compounding of cellulosic filler with PLA. The lignocellulose powder was compounded with PLA in various amounts by extrusion and injection-moulding. Homogeneous dispersion of the lignocellulose powder in PLA was achieved. However, comprehensive mechanical and microscopic characterisation revealed only minor positive effects of the filler on PLA in a limited number of cases. Further investigation by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) showed a reduction of the average molar mass of the PLA matrix with increasing filler content, partly due to the residual inorganic matter in the spray-dried powder. This effect overshadowed the homogeneous dispersion and resulted in composites with weaker mechanical properties in most cases.

Keywords


Lignocellulose; Poly (lactic acid); Hydrophobic; Compatibility; Size; Extrusion; Injection-moulding; Mechanical properties; Imaging

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