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COMPATIBILIZATION OF PLA/NATURAL FIBER BIOCOMPOSITES USING PLA FUNCTIONALIZATION WITH MALEIC ANHYDRIDE
The polylactic acid (PLA) is an interesting biopolymer in terms of mechanical and biodegradable properties that is used for different applications. However, PLA has some disadvantages like brittleness and processing instability, which can be overcome using natural fibers as reinforcement. This combination of PLA and natural fibers results in fully biodegradable biocomposites. Nevertheless, the hydrophilic natural fibers are not compatible with the hydrophobic characteristic of PLA leading to poor interfacial adhesion producing interfacial voids, cavities and defects and consequently low performance properties. In this sense, the compatibilization of both phases is needed being an excellent option the PLA functionalization with maleic anhydride to be used as coupling agent. In this work, different strategies of PLA functionalization were studied as well as their effect in the final mechanical and thermal properties of compatibilized biocomposites.