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Preparation of nanofibrillated cellulose and application in reinforced PLA/starch nanocomposite film

Mao, Jiangchun, Tang, Yanjun, Zhao, Ruonan, Zhou, Yiming, Wang, Zhanbin
Journal of polymers and the environment 2019 v.27 no.4 pp. 728-738
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, air, bio-packaging, biodegradability, biopolymers, brittleness, cellulose, food packaging, homogenization, modulus of elasticity, nanocomposites, permeability, polylactic acid, scanning electron microscopy, shear stress, starch, tensile strength, viscosity
Polylactic acid (PLA), one of the most promising biopolymers with exceptional properties, is being used in a wide variety of applications in diverse fields. However, low degradation rate, relatively high cost and inherently high brittleness of PLA severely hamper its further development, particularly in functional nanocomposites for bio-based packaging. In the present work, green, biodegradable and reinforced PLA-based nanocomposite films were designed and prepared, where starch was incorporated for reducing the overall cost of nanocomposites for large-scale application, and nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) isolated from microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) via a completely green process was employed as a reinforcing phase. Initially, the morphology structure and dimension of the NFC samples isolated by high-pressure homogenization (HPH) coupled with hot water pretreatment were characterized using SEM, FT-IR, XRD, and laser scattering particle analyzer. Moreover, the effect of NFC loadings on the rheological behavior of the PLA based nanocomposite suspensions and the overall properties of the corresponding nanocomposite films were investigated. Results indicated that increased NFC loadings reduced the shear viscosity and shear stress of the nanocomposite suspensions. Furthermore, the desired PLA/starch/NFC nanocomposite films were found to exhibit improved tensile strength, Young’s modulus and reduced air permeability in comparison to pure PLA/starch films. This work offered an effective route for the preparation of biodegradable and reinforced PLA-based nanocomposite films, which may be promising bio-nanocomposite materials for food packaging applications.