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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Carbon Nanostructures and Fatty Acid Treatment on the Mechanical and Thermal Performances of Flax/Polypropylene Composites

1
Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials, National Council of Research, 80078 Pozzuoli, Italy
2
Department of Chemical Engineering Materials Environment & UdR INSTM, Sapienza-Università di Roma, 00184 Roma, Italy
3
SGIker-UPV/EHU, Centro “Joxe Mari Korta”, Tolosa Hiribidea, 72, 20018 Donostia−San Sebastián, Spain
4
Donostia International Physics Center, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020438 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibres and their Composites)
Four different strategies for mitigating the highly hydrophilic nature of flax fibers were investigated with a view to increase their compatibility with apolar polypropylene. The effects of two carbon nanostructures (graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs)), of a chemical modification with a fatty acid (stearic acid), and of maleated polypropylene on interfacial adhesion, mechanical properties (tensile and flexural), and thermal stability (TGA) were compared. The best performance was achieved by a synergistic combination of GNPs and maleated polypropylene, which resulted in an increase in tensile strength and modulus of 42.46% and 54.96%, respectively, compared to baseline composites. Stearation proved to be an effective strategy for increasing the compatibility with apolar matrices when performed in an ethanol solution with a 0.4 M concentration. The results demonstrate that an adequate selection of surface modification strategies leads to considerable enhancements in targeted properties.
Keywords: polymer matrix composites; flax fibers; surface treatments; adhesion polymer matrix composites; flax fibers; surface treatments; adhesion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Russo, P.; Vitiello, L.; Sbardella, F.; Santos, J.I.; Tirillò, J.; Bracciale, M.P.; Rivilla, I.; Sarasini, F. Effect of Carbon Nanostructures and Fatty Acid Treatment on the Mechanical and Thermal Performances of Flax/Polypropylene Composites. Polymers 2020, 12, 438.

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