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Effects of Accelerated Weathering in Polylactide Biocomposites Reinforced with Microcrystalline Cellulose

Kaynak, Cevdet
Dogu, B.
The aim of this study was to reveal effects of accelerated weathering in neat polylactide (PLA) and its biocomposite reinforced with microcrystalline cellulose (MCC); compounded by twin-screw extrusion melt mixing and specimen shaping by injection molding. Weathering conditions were applied via consecutive steps of UV irradiation and humidity in accordance with ISO 4892-3 standards for 200 h. Various characterization techniques and mechanical tests indicated that photolysis, photo-oxidation and hydrolysis were the main degradation mechanisms leading to significant decrease in the molecular weight of PLA via main chain scission. Consequently, except elastic modulus other mechanical properties; strength, ductility and fracture toughness of PLA and PLA/MCC decreased substantially. However, after comparing the mechanical properties of the neat PLA and PLA/MCC biocomposite specimens having 200 h of accelerated weathering, it was concluded that; for the outdoor applications use of PLA/MCC biocomposite (with only 3 wt% MCC) was extremely beneficial compared to using neat PLA. For example, tensile strength is more than 91% beneficial while strain at break ductility is more than 2.7 times beneficial.