Morphological and Mechanical Characterization of Electrospun Polylactic Acid and Microcrystalline Cellulose

Alexander Gaitán, William Gacitúa


The goal of this work was to develop a composite material, a membrane, based on polylactic acid (PLA) reinforced with cellulose microcrystalline (MCC). Membranes based on PLA were fabricated using electrospinning. The fabrication parameters, fiber morphology, and mechanical properties were analyzed. For fabrication, 12 mL of solution (12%, weight basis, of PLA in chloroform) was used and three different injector-collector distances and three voltages were employed. The fiber morphology was observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). To fabricate reinforced membranes using microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), an amount of 1.0%, 3.0%, and 5.0% of MCC, based on the polymer mass, was used. The MCC distribution was observed using SEM. The membranes were tested via tensile and tearing tests according to the corresponding ASTM D882-12 (2012) and ASTM D1938-14 (2014). It was observed that plain fibers tended to form, depending on the injector-collector distances. Additionally, microfiber porosity was observed, which was attributed to the solvent evaporation. Moreover, the addition of 1% of MCC was translated into an important increase of tensile strength, which in some cases reached a 476% increase; similar effects were observed in the tear test results.


Polylactic acid; Microcrystal cellulose; Electrospinning; Mechanical properties; Fiber morphology; Porosity

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