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Keywords:

  • blends;
  • composites;
  • DSC;
  • fibers;
  • fillers

Abstract

Massive quantities of marine seaweed, Ulva armoricana are washed onto shores of many European countries and accumulates as waste. Attempts were made to utilize this renewable resource in hybrid composites by blending the algal biomass with biodegradable polymers such as poly(hydroxy-butyrate) and poly-(ε-caprolactone). Compression-molded films were developed and examined for their morphological, thermal and mechanical property. The Ulva fibers were well dispersed throughout the continous matrix exhibiting considerable cohesion with both polymers. Occasionally, regions with exposed fibres or aggregates were visible. About 50% algal content seemed to be an ideal concentration, thereafter, thermal stability was impacted. A progressive decrease in melting heat (ΔHm) was observed with increased algal content as well as a decrease in the crystallinity of the polymer matrix due to the presence of the organic filler. The addition of algal fibres improved the Young modulus of the blends, creating a concomitant loss in percent elongation (El) and ultimate tensile strength. Fiber content above 40% impacted tensile property negatively and composites with over 70% fiber contents composites were too fragile. Data suggest that macro algae are compatible with both polymers and processable as fillers in hybrid blends. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2010