Biocomposites of Flax Fiber and Polylactic Acid: Processing and Properties
This work investigates the effect of the addition of flax fiber (15, 25, and 40 wt%) on the mechanical, morphological, rheological, and thermal properties of polylactic acid (PLA). In the first step, no coupling agent was used to produce fully biodegradable and biobased composites. In particular, flexural tests were performed on the composites to evaluate their mechanical properties, while density, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and rheological tests were also carried out. Scanning electron microscopy images (SEM) show good flax fiber dispersion in the PLA matrix along with good contact between both phases, leading to improved stress transfer. Based on the results obtained, the addition of 40 wt% flax fiber resulted in a 142% increase in flexural modulus. It was also found that flax fiber significantly decreased the glass transition, crystallization, and melting temperatures of PLA.
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