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The Effect of Decreased Fiber Size in Wheat Straw/Polyvinyl Alcohol Composites

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The reinforcing potential of micro and nano-size fibers from wheat straw in polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) was studied. The microfibers were obtained by alkali treatment and disintegration process of wheat straw while nanofibers were obtained after applying further mechanical treatment of this alkali treated wheat straw. The results showed that the alkali treatment increased the α-cellulose content of the fibers from 38% to 73% due to hydrolysis of the hemicelluloses and lignin from the straw walls. The morphology and thermal properties of the micro and nano-size fibers were determined to show their potential as reinforcements. The transmission electron microscopy study showed that the size of the wheat straw fibers was decreased from micro to nano-size by the defibrillation process. Thermogravimetric analysis demonstrated the alkali treatment dramatically increased the thermal properties of the wheat straw fibers. The morphologies and thermal properties of the prepared composites were investigated by scanning electron microscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. The thermal stability of the nanofiber-reinforced composites increased with respect to the neat PVA. The mechanical properties of the composites increased significantly with the addition of microfibers and further increment was obtained with nanofibers. The tensile modulus increased from 2.1 GPa of pure PVA to 3 GPa with the addition of micro sized fibers and further to 3.8 GPa with the decreased fiber size to nano scale. The composites strength showed similar trend.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • The goal of the creation of a biobased economy is challenging to agriculture, forestry, academia, government and industry. The extractable resources of the Earth are finite, regardless of the quibble over when they will be depleted. The economic, political and social demands for biobased chemicals, materials and energy are expected to radically transform the materials industries, particularly the plastics industry as well as the biofuel industry. These changes will be based on the principles of sustainability, eco-efficiency, industrial ecology, and green chemistry and engineering. In keeping with the growth of knowledge in this field, there is a strong need for a forum to share original research related to biobased materials and bioenergy. The Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (JBMB) has been created as an international peer-reviewed periodical to fulfill the need for communication in these research areas. This journal will encompass related research activities in all fields of science, engineering and the life sciences.
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