Towards More Sustainable Material Formulations: A Comparative Assessment of PA11-SGW Flexural Performance versus Oil-Based Composites

The replacement of commodity polyolefin, reinforced with glass fiber (GF), by greener alternatives has been a topic of research in recent years. Cellulose fibers have shown, under certain conditions, enough tensile capacities to replace GF, achieving competitive mechanical properties. However, if the objective is the production of environmentally friendlier composites, it is necessary to replace oil-derived polymer matrices by bio-based or biodegradable ones, depending on the application. Polyamide 11 (PA11) is a totally bio-based polyamide that can be reinforced with cellulosic fibers. Composites based on this polymer have demonstrated enough tensile strength, as well as stiffness, to replace GF-reinforced polypropylene (PP). However, flexural properties are of high interest for engineering applications. Due to the specific character of short-fiber-reinforced composites, significant differences are expected between the tensile and flexural properties. These differences encourage the study of the flexural properties of a material prior to the design or development of a new product. Despite the importance of the flexural strength, there are few works devoted to its study in the case of PA11-based composites. In this work, an in-depth study of the flexural strength of PA11 composites, reinforced with Stoneground wood (SGW) from softwood, is presented. Additionally, the results are compared with those of PP-based composites. The results showed that the SGW fibers had lower strengthening capacity reinforcing PA11 than PP. Moreover, the flexural strength of PA11-SGW composites was similar to that of PP-GF composites ​
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