Characterization of Poly-hydroxybutyrate/Luffa Fibers Composite Material

Andrea Melina Avecilla-Ramírez, Ma. del Rocio López-Cuellar, Berenice Vergara-Porras, Adriana I. Rodríguez-Hernández, Edgar Vázquez-Núñez


Luffa fibers were evaluated as a reinforcement material in poly-hydroxy-butyrate matrix composites. The treatments consisted of varying the incorporation percentage of mercerized and non-mercerized luffa fibers in a poly-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) matrix (5%, 10%, and 20% w/v). Composites made with PHB and reinforced with luffa fibers (treated and non-treated) were mechanically evaluated (tensile strength, Young’s modulus, and percentage of elongation at break), the surface morphology was described by using scanning electronic microscopy, and the degradability behavior of composites was obtained. According to the results, mechanical properties decreased when the percentage of fibers increased and no significant effects were observed when compared with mercerized fiber composites. Degradability tests demonstrated that the weight loss increased with increased fiber content in composites, independent of the applied pretreatments. Microscopy images exhibited that mercerization improved the fiber incorporation into the polymeric matrix, diminishing the “pull out” effect; the above-mentioned result was supported by using the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy technique, observing the reduction of lignin and hemicellulose peaks in mercerized fibers. Based on the composite mechanical performance and degradability behavior, it was concluded that this material could be used in the packaging sector as biodegradable secondary packaging material.


Alkali treatment; Biodegradation; PHB biocomposites; Natural fiber; Sustainable biomaterials

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