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Article

Valorization of Hemp Hurds as Bio-Sourced Additives in PLA-Based Biocomposites

1
Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9, Canada
2
Industrial Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: De Feng Wu
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3786; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213786
Received: 30 September 2021 / Revised: 22 October 2021 / Accepted: 27 October 2021 / Published: 1 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass-Derived Polymer Composites/Blends)
Sourced from agricultural waste, hemp hurds are a low-cost renewable material with high stiffness; however, despite their potential to be used as low-cost filler in natural fiber reinforced polymer biocomposites, they are often discarded. In this study, the potential to add value to hemp hurds by incorporating them into poly(lactic acid) (PLA) biopolymer to form bio-based materials for packaging applications is investigated. However, as with many plant fibers, the inherent hydrophilicity of hemp hurds leads to inferior filler-matrix interfacial interactions, compromising the mechanical properties of the resulting biocomposites. In this study, two chemical treatments, alkaline (NaOH) and alkaline/peroxide (NaOH/H2O2) were employed to treat hemp hurds to improve their miscibility with poly(lactic acid) (PLA) for the formation of biocomposites. The effects of reinforcement content (5, 10, and 15 wt. %), chemical treatments (purely alkaline vs. alkaline/peroxide) and treatment cycles (1 and 3 cycles) on the mechanical and thermal properties of the biocomposites were investigated. The biocomposites of treated hemp hurd powder exhibited enhanced thermal stability in the temperature range commonly used to process PLA (130–180 °C). The biocomposites containing 15 wt. % hemp hurd powder prepared using a single-cycle alkaline/peroxide treatment (PLA/15APHH1) exhibited a Young’s modulus of 2674 MPa, which is 70% higher than that of neat PLA and 9.3% higher than that of biocomposites comprised of PLA containing the same wt. % of untreated hemp hurd powder (PLA/15UHH). Furthermore, the tensile strength of the PLA/15APHH1 biocomposite was found to be 62.6 MPa, which was 6.5% lower than that of neat PLA and 23% higher than that of the PLA/15UHH sample. The results suggest that the fabricated PLA/hemp hurd powder biocomposites have great potential to be utilized in green and sustainable packaging applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: hemp hurd powder; alkaline treatment; alkaline/peroxide treatment; filler-matrix interaction hemp hurd powder; alkaline treatment; alkaline/peroxide treatment; filler-matrix interaction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Momeni, S.; Safder, M.; Khondoker, M.A.H.; Elias, A.L. Valorization of Hemp Hurds as Bio-Sourced Additives in PLA-Based Biocomposites. Polymers 2021, 13, 3786. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213786

AMA Style

Momeni S, Safder M, Khondoker MAH, Elias AL. Valorization of Hemp Hurds as Bio-Sourced Additives in PLA-Based Biocomposites. Polymers. 2021; 13(21):3786. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213786

Chicago/Turabian Style

Momeni, Sina, Muhammad Safder, Mohammad A.H. Khondoker, and Anastasia L. Elias. 2021. "Valorization of Hemp Hurds as Bio-Sourced Additives in PLA-Based Biocomposites" Polymers 13, no. 21: 3786. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213786

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