Effectiveness of cellulosic Agave angustifolia fibres on the performance of compatibilised poly(lactic acid)-natural rubber blends
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In this study, A. angustifolia cellulose was tested as a potential fibre for use in biocomposites based on a polylactic acid (PLA)/natural rubber (NR) blend compatibilised with liquid natural rubber. Biocomposite analyses were performed via mechanical, physical, morphological, thermal, and biodegradation characterisations to evaluate the influence of the cellulose content on the properties of biocomposites. The addition of Agave cellulose improved the tensile properties of the biocomposites with biocomposites reinforced by 7.5 wt% cellulose showing maximum tensile strength. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis showed that Agave cellulose acts as a nucleating agent for PLA, and the thermal stability improved up to 6% upon cellulose addition. Soil burial tests revealed that the biodegradability, which is directly influenced by the water absorption of the biocomposites, increased with increasing cellulose addition. Finally, water absorption tests indicated that biocomposites with low water resistance increase the degradation rates of the PLA–NR blends.
KeywordsCellulose Liquid natural rubber Melt blending Soil burial
This work was supported by research Grants [FRGS-MRSA/1/2016/STG07/UKM/01/1] and [GUP-2018–028] provided by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia (MOE), and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). The authors would also like to thank Dr. Md. Akhir Hamid from the Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI) for the processing of raw agave fibres.
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