This work demonstrates that the interfacial properties in a natural fiber reinforced polylactide biocomposite can be tailored through surface adsorption of amphiphilic and biodegradable poly (ethylene glycol)-b-poly-(L-lactide) (PEG-PLLA) block copolymers. The deposition from solvent solution of PEG-PLLA copolymers onto the fibrous substrate induced distinct mechanisms of molecular organization at the cellulosic interface, which are correlated to the hydrophobic/hydrophilic ratios and the type of solvent used. The findings of the study evidenced that the performance of the corresponding biocomposites with polylactide were effectively enhanced by using these copolymers as interfacial coupling agents. During the fabrication stage, diffusion of the polylactide in the melt induced a change in the environment surrounding block copolymers which became hydrophobic. It is proposed that molecular reorganization of the block copolymers at the interface occurred, which favored the interactions with both the hydrophilic fibers and hydrophobic polylactide matrix. The strong interactions such as intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonds formed across the fiber−matrix interface can be accounted for the enhancement in properties displayed by the biocomposites. Although the results reported here are confined, this concept is unique as it shows that by tuning the amphiphilicity and the type of building blocks, it is possible to control the surface properties of the substrate by self-assembly and disassembly of the amphiphiles for functional materials.
Field of Research
091202 Composite and Hybrid Materials 100706 Nanofabrication, Growth and Self Assembly
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