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Mechanical properties of natural fibers with biosynthesized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs)
Natural fibers have been commonly used as reinforcement of polymeric composites. Unfortunately, natural fibers have low compatibility with polymer matrices, decreasing the mechanical properties of the composites due to a low interfacial adhesion. Therefore, chemical treatments have been used to improve the fibers/polymers compatibility. However, such treatments can physically damage the fibers, affecting their mechanical properties. A new tendency is to modify the pre-treated natural fibers, using silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), which do not damage the fibers, making them more hydrophobic, and thus encreasing the compatibility with the polymer matrix. Additionally the presence of AgNPs could improve the mechanical properties of the fibers and give them the possibility to be used in different applications (antibacterial, biomedical, surgical and environmental applications). Therefore, in this work AgNPs were biosynthetized using previously mercerized natural fibers as substrate to evaluate their effect on the mechanical properties of the fibers. Preliminary results indicate that different sized AgNPs are present in the natural fibers, showing a spherical morphology.