Bionanocomposites based on polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and cellulose nanowhiskers (CNWs) were prepared by dispersing CNWs in poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) plasticizer subsequently incorporating the CNWs/PEG suspensions in the matrix. The thermal properties of the nanocomposites indicate an enlargement in the processing window in comparison to the neat PHB. The nanocomposites showed a remarkable increase in the strain level (50 times related to the neat PHB), without a significant loss of the tensile strength with the incorporation of small concentrations of CNWs in the final nanocomposite (up to 0.45 wt %). This behavior was explained in terms of a considerable chain orientation promoted by the presence of CNWs in the same direction of the applied load, which activated shear flow of the polymer matrix. The results described here can be explored to extend the applications of this biopolymer. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013
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