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Biocomposites of polyamide 4.10 and surface modified microfibrillated cellulose (MFC): influence of processing parameters on structure and thermomechanical properties

Leszczyńska, Agnieszka, Kiciliński, Paweł, Pielichowski, Krzysztof
Cellulose 2015 v.22 no.4 pp. 2551-2569
biocomposites, biopolymers, castor oil, cellulose, dispersibility, engineering, gases, hydrolysis, mechanical properties, melting, nanofibers, oxidation, polyamides, raw materials, renewable resources, temperature, thermal stability, thermoplastics, ultrasonics
Novel bio-polyamides obtained from renewable resources, e.g. PA4.10, are considered nowadays as promising ‘green’ engineering materials consisting of building blocks derived from castor oil. In this work the composites of heterogeneously acetylated microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and biopolyamide 4.10 have been prepared by melt blending. Thermoplastic processing of PA4.10/MFC composites was possible in a narrow temperature window due to significant improvement of thermal stability of acetylated MFC as compared to raw MFC. The increase of thermooxidative stability of filler was due to removal of non-cellulosic components from the raw material and introduction of acetic moieties that had additional slight stabilizing effect on MFC. Moreover, the modified MFC showed significant changes in morphology that favoured its dispersibility in viscous polymer melt. Combined treatment of MFC by chemical agents, which caused partial hydrolysis of amorphous regions, and physical disintegration by ultrasonic waves resulted in formation of fibrous material with low degree of entanglement and submicron or nanometric diameters. In the tested range of screw speeds it was found that at screw speed of 100 rpm the shearing forces were sufficient for dispersing MFC agglomerates and the melt pressure secured evacuation of gases introduced to plasticizing system of extruder with MFC-Ac aerogel. The dynamic mechanical properties of obtained (nano)composites were influenced by both mechanical strengthening of rigid cellulose micro and nanofibers as well as susceptibility of biopolymers towards oxidation and thermomechanical degradation during processing.