Wood Fiber-reinforced Polylactic Acid Sheets Enabled by Papermaking

Yang Zhao, Qinpeng Shen, Yuanxin Duan, Shuyin Wu, Ping Lei, Liu Yang, Yunhua Qin, Fei Yang

Abstract


Polylactic acid is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester derived from renewable polysaccharides. In this work, softwood fibers were used to reinforce the paper sheet made from polylactic acid fibers, thus addressing the challenges regarding low density, rough surface, and weak strength. The impact of wood fibers and calendering on the physical properties (density, roughness, tensile strength, and folding endurance) of the composite paper were identified. Furthermore, the morphology of papers with different fiber contents and those that had been calendered was characterized with a scanning electron microscope. The use of wood fibers resulted in the improvement of the physical properties of the polylactic acid paper, and the enhanced refining of wood fibers had a favorable role in improving paper density, smoothness, and mechanical strength. The tensile index increased 37.9% when the beating degree of wood fibers increased from 25 to 60 °SR. After calendering, the density, smoothness, tensile strength, folding endurance, and air barrier property of the paper were improved 60.2%, 45.8%, 15.5%, 148.1%, and 79.4%, respectively. The calendering-based papermaking process involving the combined use of wood fibers and polylactic acid fibers would be a promising strategy for designing composite materials for tailorable end-uses.

Keywords


Polylactic acid fiber; Wood fiber; Calendering; Papermaking; Mechanical property

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