Polylactide (PLA)-based composite materials reinforced with ball-milled celluloses were manufactured by extrusion blending followed by injection molding. Their surface morphology from impact fracture were imaged with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and investigated by calculating their fractal dimensions. Then, linear regression was used to explore the relationship between fractal dimension and impact strength of the resultant cellulose/PLA composite materials. The results show that filling the ball-milled celluloses into PLA can improve the impact toughness of PLA by a minimum of 38%. It was demonstrated that the fracture pattern of the cellulose/PLA composite materials is different from that of pristine PLA. For the resultant composite materials, the fractal dimension of the impact fractured surfaces increased with increasing filling content and decreasing particle size of the ball-milled cellulose particles. There were highly positive correlations between fractal dimension of the fractured surfaces and impact strength of the cellulose/PLA composites. However, the linearity between fractal dimension and impact strength were different for the different methods, due to their different R-squared values. The approach presented in this work will help to understand the structure–property relationships of composite materials from a new perspective.
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