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Thermal, mechanical and environmental degradation characteristics of polyhydroxybutyrate-co-valerate reinforced with cellulose fibers

Material Science & Engineering International Journal
Tiago Cristofer Aguzzoli Colombo,1 Ana Maria Coulon Grisa,1,2 Ademir Jose Zattera,2 Rosmary Nichele Brandalise2

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The development of biodegradable polymers has advanced in recent years, mainly due to the overwhelming need to reduce the impact of polymeric materials when improperly discarded in nature. However, there are major challenges to be surpassed, especially regarding characteristics such as mechanical strength and cost of such materials, when compared to commodity polymers widely used today. Motivated by this goal, this study focused on the development of a composite material consisting of a biodegradable polymer the poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-valerate) (PHBV) reinforced with cellulose fibers, which are cheap and abundant. Mechanical and thermal properties of the polymer reinforced with different fiber contents were analyzed and compared with the neat material. Also, a burial-soil test was carried out to evaluate the environmentally degradable characteristics of the compositions studied. Results showed that the incorporation of cellulose fibers into the biodegradable matrix can both optimize the mechanical properties in use, and accelerating the environmental degradation of the polymeric material after use, when properly disposed, showing that biodegradable composites are environmentally friendly. 


PHBV, cellulose fibers, mechanical properties, biodegradation