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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 569871, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/569871
Research Article

Natural Fibre-Reinforced Biofoams

Centre des Matériaux de Grande Diffusion, Ecole des Mines d'Alès, 6 avenue de Clavières, 30319 Alès, France

Received 8 April 2011; Accepted 24 June 2011

Academic Editor: James Njuguna

Copyright © 2011 Anne Bergeret and Jean Charles Benezet. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Starches and polylactic acids (PLAs) represent the main biobased and biodegradable polymers with potential industrial availability in the next decades for “bio” foams applications. This paper investigates the improvement of their morphology and properties through processing and materials parameters. Starch foams were obtained by melt extrusion in which water is used as blowing agent. The incorporation of natural fibres (hemp, cellulose, cotton linter, sugarcane, coconut) in the starch foam induced a density reduction up to 33%, a decrease in water absorption, and an increase in mechanical properties according to the fibre content and nature. PLA foams were obtained through single-screw extrusion using of a chemical blowing agent that decomposed at the PLA melting temperature. A void content of 48% for PLA and 25% for cellulose fibre-reinforced PLA foams and an improvement in mechanical properties were achieved. The influence of a fibre surface treatment was investigated for both foams.