Mechanical Recycling of PLA Filled with a High Level of Cellulose Fibres
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Composites consisting of 30 vol% PLA and 70 vol% cellulose fibres were prepared with compression moulding. In the first part of the study, the recyclability of this composite material was investigated by grinding the material and using the recyclate obtained as a filler for PLA. Thus, the recyclate was compounded with PLA in loadings ranging from 20 to 50 wt%. The composites obtained were characterised by tensile tests, Charpy impact tests, DMTA, and SEM. Tests showed that the recyclate had a relatively good reinforcing effect. Stress at break increased from about 50 to 77 MPa and the modulus increased from 3.6 to 8.5 GPa. In the second part of the study, the ability to mechanically recycle the composites obtained was evaluated by repeated processing. Composite with two loadings of the recyclate (20 wt% and 50 %) was injection moulded repeatedly, six times. Tests showed that the composite material with 20 wt% recyclate could withstand six cycles relatively well, while the composite with the higher load degraded much more quickly. For the composites with 50 wt% recyclate, signs of polymer degradation could be seen already after reprocessing the composite once.
KeywordsBiocomposite Biopolymer Recycling Repeated processing Polylactic acid Ageing
This study was funded by Mistra, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research. We thank Södra Skogsägarnas Ekonomisk Förening for supplying the PLA composite material.
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