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Keywords:

  • fillers;
  • composites;
  • mechanical properties;
  • cellulose;
  • poly(hydroxyalkanoate)

Abstract

Residual lignocellulosic flour from spruce and ground olive stone was used as a natural filler in poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-valerate) (PHBV)-based composites. The morphology and the thermal properties of these composites were investigated by scanning electron microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry, respectively. Lignocellulosic fillers acted as nucleating sites for the crystallization of PHBV and strongly enhanced its degree of crystallinity. Dynamic mechanical analysis and tensile properties of these materials were also studied. A significant reinforcing effect was displayed by dynamic mechanical analysis at temperatures higher than the glass–rubber transition of the matrix. In addition, for low-particle-size spruce, a stabilization of the modulus was observed up to 500 K. High-strain tensile properties did not show any reinforcing effect. This apparent disagreement was explained by the poor adhesion between the hydrophilic lignocellulosic filler and the hydrophobic polymeric matrix. To validate this hypothesis, the experimental data were compared with predicted data involving the percolation concept. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 87: 1302–1315, 2003