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Effectiveness of cellulosic Agave angustifolia fibres on the performance of compatibilised poly(lactic acid)-natural rubber blends

Rosli, Noor Afizah, Ahmad, Ishak, Anuar, Farah Hannan, Abdullah, Ibrahim
Cellulose 2019 v.26 no.5 pp. 3205-3218
Agave angustifolia, biocomposites, biodegradability, biodegradation, cellulose, differential scanning calorimetry, liquids, polylactic acid, rubber, soil, tensile strength, thermal stability, water uptake
In this study, A. angustifolia cellulose was tested as a potential fibre for use in biocomposites based on a polylactic acid (PLA)/natural rubber (NR) blend compatibilised with liquid natural rubber. Biocomposite analyses were performed via mechanical, physical, morphological, thermal, and biodegradation characterisations to evaluate the influence of the cellulose content on the properties of biocomposites. The addition of Agave cellulose improved the tensile properties of the biocomposites with biocomposites reinforced by 7.5 wt% cellulose showing maximum tensile strength. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis showed that Agave cellulose acts as a nucleating agent for PLA, and the thermal stability improved up to 6% upon cellulose addition. Soil burial tests revealed that the biodegradability, which is directly influenced by the water absorption of the biocomposites, increased with increasing cellulose addition. Finally, water absorption tests indicated that biocomposites with low water resistance increase the degradation rates of the PLA–NR blends.