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Effect of fiber surface treatments on thermo-mechanical behavior of poly(lactic acid)/phormium tenax composites

By Sarasini F, Puglia D, Fortunati E, Kenny JM and Santulli C


In the present study, Phormium Tenax fiber reinforced PLA composites were processed by injection molding and twin screw compounding with a fiber content ranging from 10 to 30 wt%. Three surface treatment methods have been used to improve the Phormium Tenax fiber-matrix interfacial bonding that are as follows: (1) aqueous alkaline solution, (2) silane coupling agent, and (3) a combination of alkaline and silane treatment. The mechanical, thermal and morphological properties of the resulting composites were investigated. The results have shown that the moduli of surface treated fiber reinforced composites are lower than the ones obtained for untreated composites (as a consequence of the decrease in fiber modulus caused by the chemical treatments) and no significant increase in strength was observed for any of the composites compared to neat PLA. SEM micrographs of composite fractured surfaces confirmed an improvement in the interfacial strength, which was insufficient nonetheless to significantly enhance the mechanical behavior of the resulting composites. Results from thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry suggest that surface treatment of Phormium affects the ability of PLA to cold crystallize, and the thermal stability of the composites at the different fiber contents was reduced with introduction of alkali and silane treated Phormium fibers

Year: 2013
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