Studies on Biobased Materials from Biodegradable Plastics and Lignin
Biodegradable polymers, such as poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), have been shown to be effective in solving many end of life issues with certain current commodity plastics. Lignin has received attention in biomaterials and chemical applications due to its favorable polyphenolic structure and large quantity of available functional groups. Blends of bioplastic and lignin have been prepared through extrusion and injection molding. These processing techniques have been adopted to manufacture test samples for performance evaluations. Effects of lignin content as well as bioplastics in blend formulations have been studied for their tensile, flexural, impact, and thermomechanical properties. Through rheological studies, the processing aspects of the blend systems in presence of ENR were evaluated. The morphologies of select formulations were studied through scanning electron microscopy. In order to improve the impact performance of the blends, the effects of several concentrations of epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) on the resulting blend were studied.