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Sustainable wood-plastic composites from bio-based polyamide 11 and chemically modified beech fibers

: Zierdt, P.; Theumer, T.; Kulkarni, G.; Däumlich, V.; Klehm, J.; Hirsch, U.; Weber, A.


Sustainable Materials and Technologies : SM&T 6 (2015), S.6-14
ISSN: 2214-9937
Fraunhofer IWM ( IMWS) ()

Wood-plastic composites from bio-based polymers and wood fibers (bio-WPC) provide an improved sustainability and carbon footprint compared to conventional composites. Actually, the implementation of this approach into industrial applications is hindered by the missing knowledge on the mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties of such bio-WPC. In this study, the properties of a bio-WPC from bio-based polyamide 11 (PA 11) and chemically modified beech fibers were investigated. The chemical modification of the beech fibers by an alkaline treatment with an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) was done to support the melt processing and adhesion to the PA 11 matrix. Analysis of the modified fibers by Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) proved an increased thermal stability, as identified by an increase of the extrapolated TGA onset temperature from 290 to 330 °C. This improvement resulted from hemicellulose removal, as confirmed through Attenuated Total Reflection Inf rared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Consequently, mechanical and thermo-mechanical analysis of the processed bio-WPC showed an increase in elastic modulus and storage modulus of the composites by the chemical treatment of the fibers. This effect was attributed to an increased number of hydrogen bonds between the modified beech fibers and the PA 11 matrix. The overall mechanical properties of the investigated bio-WPCs support their use as sustainable construction material for technical applications.