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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2017, Article ID 3264098, 12 pages
Research Article

Characterization of Extruded Poly(lactic acid)/Pecan Nutshell Biocomposites

1Chemical and Biological Sciences Department, University of Sonora, Rosales y Luis Encinas, Col. Centro, 83000 Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
2Sustainability Graduate Program, Industrial Engineering Department, University of Sonora, Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
3Department of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA
4Polymers and Materials Research Department, University of Sonora, Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
5Research Center and Advanced Studies of IPN, Mérida Unit, Ant. Carr. a Progreso Km. 6, Apdo. Postal 73, Cordemex, 97310 Mérida, YUC, Mexico
6Research Center for Food and Development, CTAOV, Hermosillo, SON, Mexico

Correspondence should be addressed to T. J. Madera-Santana; xm.daic@aredam

Received 27 March 2017; Revised 24 May 2017; Accepted 1 June 2017; Published 12 July 2017

Academic Editor: Maria Laura Di Lorenzo

Copyright © 2017 C. R. Álvarez-Chávez 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.


Pecan nutshells are a solid form of waste obtained from the pecan nut production and they have been explored as an inexpensive filler for incorporation by melt blending into the poly(lactic acid) (PLA) matrix. The pecan nutshells contain polyphenols, proteins, tannins, sugars, and lipids; some of these components must be released in order to improve adhesion with a polymeric matrix. The physicochemical characterization of the extruded biocomposites of pecan nutshell powder (PNSP) at 0, 5, and 7.5% wt. with two treatments (untreated and defatted) into PLA is presented in this work. The incorporation of PNSP into the PLA matrix caused a variation in color and density and increased the water absorption. However, some mechanical and thermal parameters of the biocomposites showed a significant decrease. The morphological analysis showed good dispersion and adhesion of the PNSP to the PLA matrix. Based on the results of the characterization, biocomposites formulated with defatted PNSP have a potential to be used as sustainable fillers in PLA biocomposites. These biocomposites have a potential application as food containers, packaging trays, or disposable items.