Melt-spun polylactic acid fibers: Effect of cellulose nanowhiskers on processing and properties

Authors

  • Maya Jacob John,

    1. CSIR, Materials Science and Manufacturing, Polymers and Composites, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
    2. Department of Textile Science, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, P.O. Box 1600, Port Elizabeth 6000, South Africa
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  • Rajesh Anandjiwala,

    1. CSIR, Materials Science and Manufacturing, Polymers and Composites, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
    2. Department of Textile Science, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, P.O. Box 1600, Port Elizabeth 6000, South Africa
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  • Kristiina Oksman,

    1. Division of Materials Science, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden
    2. Composite Centre Sweden, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden
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  • Aji P Mathew

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Materials Science, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden
    2. Composite Centre Sweden, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden
    • Division of Materials Science, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden
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Abstract

Bio-based continuous fibers were processed from polylactic acid (PLA) and cellulose nanowhiskers (CNWs) by melt spinning. Melt compounding of master batches of PLA with 10 wt % CNWs and pure PLA was carried out using a twin-screw extruder in which compounded pellets containing 1 and 3 wt % of CNWs were generated for subsequent melt spinning. The microscopy studies showed that the fiber diameters were in the range of 90-95 µm, and an increased surface roughness and aggregations in the fibers containing CNWs could be detected. The addition of the CNWs restricted the drawability of the fibers to a factor of 2 and did not affect the fiber stiffness or strength, but resulted in a significantly lower strain and slightly increased crystallinity. Furthermore, CNWs increased the thermal stability, creep resistance and reduction in thermal shrinkage of PLA fibers, possibly indicating a restriction of the polymer chain mobility due to the nanoscale additives. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

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