Multiple Reprocessing Cycles of Corn Starch-Based Biocomposites Reinforced with Curauá Fiber
Biocomposites with a corn starch-based biodegradable polymer as matrix and 10 wt% vegetable curauá fiber were processed by injection molding and were submitted to reprocessing up to ten cycles with or without 3 wt% of maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene as coupling agent. The effect of reprocessing on hardness, impact and tensile properties as well as on the morphology, thermal properties, chemical structure and soil degradation behaviour of the matrix and biocomposites was evaluated. Curauá fibers have increased hardness, impact and tensile strengths as well as increased tensile modulus and decreased elongation at break of the biocomposites with respect to starch-based matrix and these properties slightly decreased or no considerable changes were observed with the reprocessing cycle increase. The addition of coupling agent promoted an increase in all properties and they remained almost constant with the reprocessing cycle increase. Thus, the incorporation of curauá fiber within starch-based matrix can improve the mechanical properties of the biocomposites which showed potential to be recycled despite the weight loss in soil degradation tests reached around 10 wt% after 230 days for biocomposites reprocessed ten cycles.
KeywordsCorn starch Curauá fiber Biocomposites Mechanical properties Recyclability
The authors are grateful to National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq), Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Fapergs) and ULBRA Foundation (FULBRA) for financial support.
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