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Article

Investigations by AFM of Ageing Mechanisms in PLA-Flax Fibre Composites during Garden Composting

1
Univ. Bretagne Sud, UMR CNRS 6027, IRDL, 56100 Lorient, France
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Univ. Brest, EA3884, LBCM, IUEM, 56100 Lorient, France
3
LMGC, Université de Montpellier, UMR CNRS 5508, 34090 Montpellier, France
4
Synchrotron SOLEIL, DISCO Beamline, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
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UR1268 Biopolymères Interactions Assemblages, INRAE, 44000 Nantes, France
6
Centre for Natural Material Innovation, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1PX, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Fiore
Polymers 2021, 13(14), 2225; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13142225
Received: 8 June 2021 / Revised: 2 July 2021 / Accepted: 5 July 2021 / Published: 6 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fibres and their Composites II)
PLA-flax non-woven composites are promising materials, coupling high performance and possible degradation at their end of life. To explore their ageing mechanisms during garden composting, microstructural investigations were carried out through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). We observe that flax fibres preferentially degrade ‘inwards’ from the edge to the core of the composite. In addition, progressive erosion of the cell walls occurs within the fibres themselves, ‘outwards’ from the central lumen to the periphery primary wall. This preferential degradation is reflected in the decrease in indentation modulus from around 23 GPa for fibres located in the preserved core of the composite to 3–4 GPa for the remaining outer-most cell wall crowns located at the edge of the sample that is in contact with the compost. Ageing of the PLA matrix is less drastic with a relatively stable indentation modulus. Nevertheless, a change in the PLA morphology, a significant decrease in its roughness and increase of porosity, can be observed towards the edge of the sample, in comparison to the core. This work highlights the important role of intrinsic fibre porosity, called lumen, which is suspected to be a major variable of the compost ageing process, providing pathways of entry for moisture and microorganisms that are involved in cell wall degradation. View Full-Text
Keywords: AFM; flax fibre; PLA; structural degradation; mechanical properties; SEM AFM; flax fibre; PLA; structural degradation; mechanical properties; SEM
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MDPI and ACS Style

Melelli, A.; Pantaloni, D.; Balnois, E.; Arnould, O.; Jamme, F.; Baley, C.; Beaugrand, J.; Shah, D.U.; Bourmaud, A. Investigations by AFM of Ageing Mechanisms in PLA-Flax Fibre Composites during Garden Composting. Polymers 2021, 13, 2225. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13142225

AMA Style

Melelli A, Pantaloni D, Balnois E, Arnould O, Jamme F, Baley C, Beaugrand J, Shah DU, Bourmaud A. Investigations by AFM of Ageing Mechanisms in PLA-Flax Fibre Composites during Garden Composting. Polymers. 2021; 13(14):2225. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13142225

Chicago/Turabian Style

Melelli, Alessia, Delphin Pantaloni, Eric Balnois, Olivier Arnould, Frédéric Jamme, Christophe Baley, Johnny Beaugrand, Darshil U. Shah, and Alain Bourmaud. 2021. "Investigations by AFM of Ageing Mechanisms in PLA-Flax Fibre Composites during Garden Composting" Polymers 13, no. 14: 2225. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13142225

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