Improvement of mechanical properties in polylactic acid by using oil palm fiber
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This research work was to study the improvement of toughness of polylactic acid (PLA) and the cost reduction of raw material with addition of untreated and treated oil palm fiber (OPF). The detail of this work was divided into two parts. The first was to find the suitable condition for surface treatment of OPF with sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The second part was to study the effect of untreated and treated OPF contents on the mechanical properties of PLA. For surface treatment of OPF, NaOH concentrations and immersion times were varied from 0 to 15 wt% and 0 to 30 min, respectively. Aspect ratio (L/D) and surface of untreated and treated OPF were investigated by using optical microscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM), respectively. The result suggested that the most suitable condition for surface treatment of OPF was NaOH concentration of 10 wt% at immersion time of 20 min. Treated OPF was occurred microporous and had more rough as compare to untreated fiber. For the effect of untreated and treated OPF contents on the mechanical properties of PLA, it was evaluated by tensile and impact testing. SEM was used for investigation of interfacial adhesion and fiber dispersion. The results showed that tensile modulus and impact strength tend to increase with adding 2.5 wt% OPF content and slightly changed at higher OPF content whereas ultimate tensile strength and elongation at break decreased with increasing fiber content. Surface treatment with NaOH led to enhancement of mechanical properties of composite due to improve interfacial adhesion and fiber dispersion.
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