Bleached Kraft Eucalyptus Fibers as Reinforcement of Poly(Lactic Acid) for the Development of High-Performance Biocomposites

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is one of the most well-known biopolymers. PLA is bio-based, biocompatible, biodegradable, and easy to produce. This polymer has been used to create natural fiber reinforced composites. However, to produce high-performance and presumably biodegradable composites, the interphase between PLA and natural fibers still requires further study. As such, we aimed to produce PLA-based composites reinforced with a commercial bleached kraft eucalyptus pulp. To become a real alternative, fully biodegradable composites must have similar properties to commercial materials. The results found in this research support the competence of wood fiber reinforced PLA composites to replace other glass fiber reinforced polypropylene composites from a tensile property point of view. Furthermore, the micromechanics analysis showed that obtaining strong interphases between the PLA and the reinforcement is possible without using any coupling agent. This work shows the ability of totally bio-based composites that fulfill the principles of green chemistry to replace composites based on polyolefin and high contents of glass fiber. To the best knowledge of the authors, previous studies obtaining such properties or lower ones involved the use of reagents or the modification of the fiber surfaces ​
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