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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2015, Article ID 368341, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/368341
Research Article

Effect of Rubberwood Content on Biodegradability of Poly(butylene succinate) Biocomposites

1Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
2PTT Research and Technology Institute, PTT Public Company Limited, Ayutthaya 13170, Thailand

Received 15 June 2015; Revised 8 September 2015; Accepted 21 September 2015

Academic Editor: Yiqi Yang

Copyright © 2015 Hemhong Anankaphong 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.

Abstract

Poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) biocomposites incorporated with rubberwood powder (RWP) were fabricated with various RWP weight fractions (i.e., 0 to 40% wt) by injection moulding process. The soil burial test was employed to examine the biodegradability of such biocomposites under outdoor environment for 60 days. The physical appearance, percentage weight loss, chemical structure, and mechanical properties before and after the soil burial test were determined. Apparent changes in physical appearance of the biocomposites from optical micrographs were detected in terms of surface morphology and colour. The percentage of crystallinity of PBS/RWP biocomposites was studied by the X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique, and the XRD pattern revealed a decrease in percentage of crystallinity due to enhancing RWP weight fractions. This may be attributed to a presence of rubberwood powders providing more disordered molecular chain arrangement of PBS matrix and also an agglomeration of the rubberwood powder content at greater concentration as seen in SEM micrographs. With increasing RWP weight fractions and burial time, the results exhibited a considerable change in chemical structure (essentially ester linkage due to biodegradation mechanism of PBS), relatively greater percentage weight loss, and a substantial decrease in flexural properties. Consequently, the results indicate that incorporating RWP enhances biodegradability of PBS/RWP biocomposites; that is, the biodegradation rate of biocomposites increases with increasing RWP weight fractions and burial time.