The desire for sustainable materials increased investigations into biodegradable polymers and improving their capabilities with natural fillers for reinforcement. Natural fillers affect processing of bioplastics therefore the objective of this project was to improve the molding properties of a biodegradable polymer. For this experiment injection molded samples of polylactic acid (PLA) and bamboo powder were formed. Observed distribution of the powder within the polymer, flexural and thermal properties were measures of processing improvements. Optimal temperatures for the injection molder, pre-heat treatment of the samples, and coupling agents helped processing of the samples. More improvements are needed for reinforced biopolymers to be competitive with traditionally formed bioplastics.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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