Tailoring Properties of Polylactic Acid/Rubber/Kenaf Biocomposites: Effects of Type of Rubber and Kenaf Loading

Nur Fazreen Alias, Hanafi Ismail, Ku Marsilla Ku Ishak


Polylactic acid (PLA) biocomposites were prepared by melt blending in an internal mixer with various types of rubber. The rubber was 90/10 wt% and was mixed before the addition of kenaf fiber (0 to 20 phr). Natural rubber (NR), nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) were used. The effects of different types of rubber and kenaf loading were investigated based on processing torque, water absorption, mechanical properties, and fractured surface morphology. A similar trend in processing torque was observed throughout the composition of biocomposites. The stabilization torque was highest for the biocomposite with NR, followed by SBR and NBR. Water absorption increased as the kenaf loading increased. The polarity of NBR and SBR contributed to higher water absorption in the biocomposites compared to the NR. The strain-induced crystallization phenomenon and higher green strength of NR contributed to the highest tensile strength, elongation at break, and impact strength of the biocomposite compared to the NBR and SBR toughened PLA/kenaf biocomposite. More plastic deformation and less fiber pullout were observed in the fractured surface morphology. However, by increasing the kenaf loading, the mechanical properties decreased for all biocomposites, which was due to poor interfacial adhesion and agglomeration.


Toughening; Polylactic acid; Natural rubber; Synthetic rubber; Kenaf; Biocomposite

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