Effects of Alkali Treatment on the Properties of Short Flax Fiber–Poly(Lactic Acid) Eco-Composites
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In this study, the influence of alkali (NaOH) treatment on the mechanical, thermal and morphological properties of eco-composites of short flax fiber/poly(lactic acid) (PLA) was investigated. SEM analysis conducted on alkali treated flax fibers showed that the packed structure of the fibrils was deformed by the removal non-cellulosic materials. The fibrils were separated from each other and the surface roughness of the alkali treated flax fibers was improved. The mechanical tests indicated that the modulus of the untreated fiber/PLA composites was higher than that of PLA; on the other hand the modulus of alkali treated flax fiber/PLA was lower than PLA. Thermal properties of the PLA in the treated flax fiber composites were also affected. Tg values of treated flax fiber composites were lowered by nearly 10 °C for 10% NaOH treatment and 15 °C for 30% NaOH treatment. A bimodal melting behavior was observed for treated fiber composites different than both of neat PLA and untreated fiber composites. Furthermore, wide angle X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the crystalline structure of cellulose of flax fibers changed from cellulose-I structure to cellulose-II.
KeywordsEco-composites Poly(lactic acid) Alkali treatment Flax fiber Morphology
This study was conducted as an undergraduate thesis at Kocaeli University, Department of Chemical Engineering.