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Polymers 2018, 10(3), 249; doi:10.3390/polym10030249

Gas Dissolution Foaming as a Novel Approach for the Production of Lightweight Biocomposites of PHB/Natural Fibre Fabrics

Departament de Ciència dels Materials i Enginyeria Metal lúrgica (CMEM), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC): C/Colom 11, TR4, 08222 Terrassa, Spain
Istituto per i Polimeri, Compositi e Biomateriali (IPCB), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR): P/Enrico Fermi 1, Loc. Granatello, 80055 Portici, Italy
Cellular Materials Laboratory (CellMat), Condensed Matter Physics Department, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Valladolid (UVa): P° de Belén 7, 47011 Valladolid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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The aim of this study is to propose and explore a novel approach for the production of cellular lightweight natural fibre, nonwoven, fabric-reinforced biocomposites by means of gas dissolution foaming from composite precursors of polyhydroxybutyrate-based matrix and flax fabric reinforcement. The main challenge is the development of a regular cellular structure in the polymeric matrix to reach a weight reduction while keeping a good fibre-matrix stress transfer and adhesion. The viability of the process is evaluated through the analysis of the cellular structure and morphology of the composites. The effect of matrix modification, nonwoven treatment, expansion temperature, and expansion pressure on the density and cellular structure of the cellular composites is evaluated. It was found that the nonwoven fabric plays a key role in the formation of a uniform cellular morphology, although limiting the maximum expansion ratio of the composites. Cellular composites with a significant reduction of weight (relative densities in the range 0.4–0.5) were successfully obtained. View Full-Text
Keywords: biopolymer; biocomposite; fabric reinforcement; natural fibres; foaming biopolymer; biocomposite; fabric reinforcement; natural fibres; foaming

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ventura, H.; Sorrentino, L.; Laguna-Gutierrez, E.; Rodriguez-Perez, M.A.; Ardanuy, M. Gas Dissolution Foaming as a Novel Approach for the Production of Lightweight Biocomposites of PHB/Natural Fibre Fabrics. Polymers 2018, 10, 249.

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