Dispersion of chitin nanocrystal in Polylactic acid nanocomposites prepared via liquid assisted extrusion by triethyl citrate

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Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-76971
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Industrial Biotechnology, Bio Materials, Teknik och teknologier, Industriell bioteknik, Biomaterial, Trä och bionanokompositer, Wood and Bionanocomposites
Publication year: 2019
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by OSDG.ai


Efforts to replace petroleum-based polymers with environmental-friendly biopolymers have been intensified during recent years. Presently, polylactic acid (PLA) is one of the most developed biopolymers and chitin nanocrystals (ChNCs), a nano-reinforcement extracted from chitin in crustacean waste, can provide enhanced structural, barrier and bioactive properties to PLA. Hence, the PLA/ChNC combination is promising to produce nanocomposite films for sustainable packaging applications. In this work, PLA/ChNC nanocomposites wereprepared by a novel liquid-assisted extrusion method. To improve the compatibility between ChNCs and PLA matrix, triethyl citrate (TEC), a bio-based plasticizer, was added to the nanocomposites with different concentrations (7.5%-15%). The main objective here is to identify the minimum amount of TEC needed to improve the ChNC dispersion and toughness of the nanocomposites. The plasticized PLA/ChNC nanocomposites were investigated by microcopy techniques to determine the dispersion of ChNCs in PLA. Moreover, their transparency, mechanical performance and thermal behaviors were characterized. All results reveal that TEC plays an important role as a dispersant in the processing of PLA/ChNC nanocomposites and significant toughening effect was obtained when the TEC concentration exceeds 12.5 wt%. This project is funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 (Grant No. 792261).


Mitulkumar Patel

Luleå tekniska universitet; Materialvetenskap
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Daniel Schwendemann

Institute of Material Technology and Plastics Processing, University of Applied Sciences Eastern, Switzerland, 8640 Rapperswil, Switzerland – Switzerland
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Shiyu Geng

Luleå tekniska universitet; Materialvetenskap
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Kristiina Oksman

Luleå tekniska universitet; Materialvetenskap; Mechanical Industrial Engineering (MIE) University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada – Canada. Fibre and Particle Engineering, University of Oulu, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland – Finland
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