This work is focused on the hydrolysis of cotton fibers from waste textiles to obtain micro and nanofibers to be used as reinforcements in polymer composites. To promote their compatibility with polymeric matrix, hydrolyzed cotton fibers were surface modified with various silane compounds. Thus, these fibers were mixed with commercial poly(lactic acid) (PLA) at 5% w/w loading by melt compounding. Acid treatments caused a decrease of the crystallinity index whereas the thermal stability was significantly improved, especially for cellulose fibers hydrolyzed in two steps. Morphological analysis revealed a reduction of the fibers diameter and a decrease of their length as a consequence of the hydrolysis. NMR analysis confirmed the silanization of the fibers by reaction with the silane agent. Tensile tests revealed that silanization treatments were able to increase the composite Young’s modulus and the stress at break with respect to the neat matrix, indicating that silanization improved the polymer/fiber compatibility interfacial adhesion. The overall results demonstrated that applying suitable surface modification strategies, waste cotton textiles can be effectively recycled as fillers in polymer based composites.
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The authors are grateful to CAPES (PNPD Program) for financial support, and Project FP7-People-2011- IRSES-295262 (VAIKUTUS Project) for L. C. Ferreira and Rafael S. Araújo Post-Docs fellowship.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
We wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no significant financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.
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