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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2011, Article ID 503940, 11 pages
Research Article

Role of Polysaccharides on Mechanical and Adhesion Properties of Flax Fibres in Flax/PLA Biocomposite

LIMATB (Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des MATériaux de Bretagne), Centre de Recherche, Université de Bretagne Sud (UBS-Ueb), Rue de Saint Maudé, 56321 Lorient Cedex, France

Received 10 January 2011; Accepted 2 March 2011

Academic Editor: Susheel Kalia

Copyright © 2011 Gijo Raj et al. 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.


The effect of alkali and enzymatic treatments on flax fibre morphology, mechanical, and adhesion properties was investigated. The multilength scale analysis allows for the correlation of the fibre's morphological changes induced by the treatments with mechanical properties to better explain the adherence properties between flax and PLA. The atomic force microscopy (AFM) images revealed the removal of primary layers, upon treatments, down to cellulose microfibrils present in the secondary layers. The variation in mechanical properties was found to be dependent, apart from the crystalline content, on interaction between cellulose microfibrils and encrusting polysaccharides, pectins and hemicelluloses, in the secondary layers. Finally, microbond tests between the modified fibres and PLA emphasize the important role of the outer fibre's surface on the overall composite properties. It was observed here that gentle treatments of the fibres, down to the oriented microfibrils, are favourable to a better adherence with a PLA drop. This paper highlights the important role of amorphous polymers, hemicellulose and pectin, in the optimisation of the adhesion and mechanical properties of flax fibres in the biocomposite.