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Materials 2017, 10(4), 326; doi:10.3390/ma10040326

New Bio-Composites Based on Polyhydroxyalkanoates and Posidonia oceanica Fibres for Applications in a Marine Environment

1
Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, University of Pisa, Largo Lucio Lazzarino 1, Pisa 56126, Italy
2
Institute for the Chemical and Physical Processes, National Research Council, Via Moruzzi 1, Pisa 56124, Italy
3
Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Via Derna 1, Pisa 56126, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Naozumi Teramoto
Received: 25 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
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Abstract

Bio-composites based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and fibres of Posidonia oceanica (PO) were investigated to assess their processability by extrusion, mechanical properties, and potential biodegradability in a natural marine environment. PHAs were successfully compounded with PO fibres up to 20 wt % while, at 30 wt % of fibres, the addition of 10 wt % of polyethylene glycol (PEG 400) was necessary to improve their processability. Thermal, rheological, mechanical, and morphological characterizations of the developed composites were conducted and the degradation of composite films in a natural marine habitat was evaluated in a mesocosm by weight loss measure during an incubation period of six months. The addition of PO fibres led to an increase in stiffness of the composites with tensile modulus values about 80% higher for composites with 30 wt % fibre (2.3 GPa) compared to unfilled material (1.24 GPa). Furthermore, the impact energy markedly increased with the addition of the PO fibres, from 1.63 (unfilled material) to 3.8 kJ/m2 for the composites with 30 wt % PO. The rate of degradation was markedly influenced by seawater temperature and significantly promoted by the presence of PO fibres leading to the total degradation of the film with 30 wt % PO in less than six months. The obtained results showed that the developed composites can be suitable to manufacture items usable in marine environments, for example, in natural engineering interventions, and represent an interesting valorisation of the PO fibrous wastes accumulated in large amounts on coastal beaches. View Full-Text
Keywords: polyhydroxyalkanoates; composites; Posidonia oceanica; marine degradation polyhydroxyalkanoates; composites; Posidonia oceanica; marine degradation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Seggiani, M.; Cinelli, P.; Mallegni, N.; Balestri, E.; Puccini, M.; Vitolo, S.; Lardicci, C.; Lazzeri, A. New Bio-Composites Based on Polyhydroxyalkanoates and Posidonia oceanica Fibres for Applications in a Marine Environment. Materials 2017, 10, 326.

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