Preparation and Characterisation of Cellulose-Shellac Biocomposites

Jasmina Obradovic, Fanny Petibon, Pedro Fardim


Composite materials comprising a mixture of shellac resin as the matrix and cellulose as the reinforcement were developed. The influence of the reinforcement content and the concentration of additives on the mechanical performance and processing were investigated. A high content of cellulose and low concentrations of ethanol and polyethylene glycol produced biocomposites with high stress resistance and a high Young’s modulus, whereas a low content of cellulose and a high concentration of additives gave samples a low Young’s modulus and high elasticity. Two types of cellulose-based reinforcements with different polarity, namely, mechanically refined wood pulp and cellulose acetate butyrate particles, were compared. The efficiency of the composite over the two model reinforcements, i.e., hydrophilic and hydrophobic components, respectively, was also studied. Although particle reinforcement was easier to process and evenly dispersed into the matrix, its mechanical performance was lower compared with refined fibres. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the matrix better coated the fibres than the particles, resulting in better adhesion and mechanical performance. The morphology of reinforcement played a key role; long fibres oriented in the pulling direction ensured a better mechanical resistance than particle fillers.


Cellulose; Fibres; Biocomposite; Resin, Shellac; Mechanical properties

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