Modifying bio-based degradable polymers such as polylactide (PLA) and poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) with non-degradable agents will compromise the 100% degradability of their resultant composites. This work developed a facile and solvent-free route in order to fabricate 100% bio-based and degradable ternary cellulose/PHBV/PLA composite materials. The effects of ball milling on the physicochemical properties of pulp cellulose fibers, and the ball-milled cellulose particles on the morphology and mechanical properties of PHBV/PLA blends, were investigated experimentally and statistically. The results showed that more ball-milling time resulted in a smaller particle size and lower crystallinity by way of mechanical disintegration. Filling PHBV/PLA blends with the ball-milled celluloses dramatically increased the stiffness at all of the levels of particle size and filling content, and improved their elongation at the break and fracture work at certain levels of particle size and filling content. It was also found that the high filling content of the ball-milled cellulose particles was detrimental to the mechanical properties for the resultant composite materials. The ternary cellulose/PHBV/PLA composite materials have some potential applications, such as in packaging materials and automobile inner decoration parts. Furthermore, filling content contributes more to the variations of their mechanical properties than particle size does. Statistical analysis combined with experimental tests provide a new pathway to quantitatively evaluate the effects of multiple variables on a specific property, and figure out the dominant one for the resultant composite materials.
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