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Novel polylactide/triticale straw biocomposites: Processing, formulation, and properties


  • Reproduced with permission of the National Research Council of Canada.


This article aims to the development of polylactide (PLA)/triticale straw biocomposites with focus on the relationship between triticale straw content, additive presence, processing, and final properties. Prior to melt compounding, the triticale straw used in this study was chopped using the paper process to produce triticale particles that were further pelletized to assure a consistent feed rate into the extrusion line. PLA/triticale straw biocomposites were obtained for different triticale contents from 10 up to 40%vol, without and with maleic anhydride grafted polylactide (PLA-g-MA) as a coupling agent. As a supplementary additive, a PLA-specific branching agent was used in some selected formulations to minimize the reduction in PLA's molecular weight. The biocomposites were characterized in terms of rheology, thermal properties, morphology, mechanical properties (tensile, flexural, and impact), and recyclability. The PLA-g-MA increased the tensile strength of biocomposites by 10%, whereas boosted the tensile modulus about 2.5 times at 40%vol triticale content. For the same formulation, the flexural strength was raised by 15% and flexural modulus was doubled. However, a combination of PLA-g-MA and branching agent proved to be the best approach to enhance PLA/triticale straw mechanical properties. When 20%vol of triticale was used as reinforcement, the presence of branching agent increased the flexural strength about 25%. The results demonstrate that the triticale straw processed in this way could offer a similar reinforcement capability as the cellulosic fibers based on the agricultural and forestry resources and can be easily recycled without losing its mechanical properties. It has a good potential in the biocomposites field with promising applications in construction, common goods, and transportation industries. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:446–458, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers