Thermoplastic Starch-based Composites Reinforced with Rape Fibers: Water Uptake and Thermomechanical Properties

Fully biodegradable composite materials were obtained through reinforcement of a commercially available thermoplastic starch (TPS) matrix with rapeseed fibers (RSF). The influence of reinforcement content on the water sorption capacity, as well as thermal and thermo-mechanical properties of composites were evaluated. Even though the hydrophilic character of natural fibers tends to favor the absorption of water, results demonstrated that the incorporation of RSF did not have a significant effect on the water uptake of the composites. DSC experiments showed that fibers restricted the mobility of the starch macromolecules from the TPS matrix, hence reducing their capacity to crystallize. The viscoelastic behaviour of TPS was also affected, and reinforced materials presented lower viscous deformation and recovery capacity. In addition, the elasticity of materials was considerably diminished when increasing fiber content, as evidenced in the TMA and DMTA measurements ​
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