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MECHANICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF GREEN BIOCOMPOSITES BASED ON POLYHYDROXYBUTYRATE AND NATURAL FIBERS
In this work, agave fibers that are an important waste of the Tequila industry were evaluated as reinforcement to produce biocomposites based on the biopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). The biocomposites were produced by compression molding with the purpose to reduce the amount of polymer used in the final piece and to improve the mechanical properties of the material. To evaluate the effect of the fiber addition, two agave fiber contents were used to produce the biocomposite (10 and 30% wt.). Afterwards, a complete mechanical characterization was held. The result showed that the addition of agave fibers (30% wt.) enhanced the tensile and flexural modulus up to 80% and 36% respectively. Both, flexural and tensile strength, were not affected (unusual behavior while using fibers as composite reinforcement) due to the partial polar characteristic of the PHB matrix. Moreover, an increase of 44% was observed in impact strength. As a complement to this work, the fiber will be modified chemically seeking to obtain better interfacial interactions and therefore improve even more the mechanical properties of the biocomposite. In addition, the biodegradative behavior of the biocomposite will be analyzed by measuring CO2 a direct biodegradation product.