Physical, chemical and mechanical properties of pehuen husk and its pehuen-starch based composites

CASTAÑO, J.; RODRÍGUEZ, S.; CARRASCO, C.; BOUZAD, R.
Carbohydrate Polymers 90:4 (2012)1550-1556. 

DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2012.07.029

Abstract

Pehuen cellulosic husk was characterized and employed as reinforcement for composite materials. In this research, thermoplastic pehuen starch (TPS) and TPS/poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) composites, reinforced with 5 and 10% of pehuen husk, were prepared by melt-blending. Comparative samples of pehuen TPS and TPS/PLA/PVA blend were also studied. Physical, thermal, structural and mechanical properties of composites were evaluated.

Pehuen husk mainly consists of cellulose (50 wt%), hemicellulose (30 wt%) and lignin (14 wt%). In respect to lipids, this husk has only a 0.6 wt%. Its surface is smooth and damage-free and it is decomposed above 325 °C.

The incorporation of pehuen husk improved considerably the thermal stability and mechanical properties of the studied composites, mainly in TPS composites. Their thermal stability enhances since biofiber hinders the “out-diffusion” of volatile molecules from the polymer matrix, while mechanical properties could raise due to the natural affinity between husk and starch in the pehuen seed.

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