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Analysis of the Effect of Photo and Hydrodegradation on the Surface Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Composites Based on PLA and PHI Modified with Natural Particles

Biodegradable polymer materials are increasingly used in the packaging industry due to their good properties and low environmental impact. Therefore, the work was performed on the injection molding of the bio-based composites of polylactide (PLA) and polyhydroxyalcanates (PHI) modified with two phases: reinforcing (walnut shell flour and cellulose) and coloring (beta carotene and anthocyanin). The produced materials were subjected to wide mechanical characteristics—tensile, flexural, and fatigue tests. Additionally, the influence of photo and hydrodegradation on the change of the surface structure and mechanical properties of the composites was assessed. The addition of natural fillers contributed to the improvement of the stiffness of the tested composites. PHI composites withstood a higher number of cycles during cyclic loading, but the stress values obtained in the static tensile test were higher for PLA composites. Moreover, a clear change of color was observed after both the photo and hydrodegradation process for all tested materials; however, after the degradation processes, the filler-modified materials underwent greater discoloration. For the composites based on PHI, the type of degradation did not affect the mechanical properties. On the other hand, for PLA composites, hydrolytic degradation contributed to a higher decrease in properties—the decrease in tensile strength for unmodified PLA after photodegradation was 4%, while after hydrodegradation it was 24%.

Publication date: 24/01/2022

Author: Karolina E. Mazur

Reference: doi: 10.3390/ma15030878

MDPI (materials)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.