Effects of two types of clay on physical and mechanical properties of poly(lactic acid)/wood flour composites at various wood flour contents



To investigate the effects of two types of clay, namely, Na-montmorillonite (Na-MMT) and organic-montmorillonite (OMMT), on poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/wood flour (WF) composites, some physical and mechanical properties including the water sorption, thickness swelling, flexural modulus of rupture (MOR), and modulus of elasticity (MOE) of PLA/WF composites at different WF contents of 0, 20, 40, and 60 wt% were tested in this study. The results showed that: (1) the 24 h water uptake and thickness swelling increased and the flexural MOR and crystallinity decreased with the increasing WF content, whereas the flexural MOE of the composites increased with WF content up to 40 wt% but decreased sharply at WF content of 60 wt%; (2) the addition of Na-MMT slightly increased the 24 h water uptake as well as the thickness swelling rate below 40 wt%, whereas OMMT reduced the thickness swelling at higher WF contents (40, 60 wt%) although it showed little effect on 24 h water uptake; (3) both Na-MMT and OMMT could improve the flexural MOR and MOE of PLA/WF composite at WF contents below 40 wt%, and OMMT resulted in more obvious improvement than Na-MMT. However, they both showed negative effect at WF content of 60 wt%; (4) XRD and FT-Raman analysis suggested that clays would be attached more on the surface of the WF rather than diffused in the PLA matrix at a higher WF content (60 wt%); (5) SEM analysis proved that the interfacial adhesion of PLA and WF became poorer at WF content above 40 wt%, whereas it could be improved by OMMT modified. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013