Commodity plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, poly(methyl methacrylate), etc. are usually used for packaging, photographic and magnetic tape, clothing, beverage and trash containers and a variety of household products. The plastics are also utilized in wide range of applications, bulk and high-volume. However, the mechanical and thermal properties of the plastic are respectively moderate and not critical compared to engineering plastics. On the other hand, biopolymers are polymers that produced by living creatures, examples of biopolymers include cellulose, starch, zein, natural rubber, lignin, etc. A major difference between biopolymers and synthetic polymers can be found in their structures, whereby most biopolymers have much complex and more disorganised structures. Biopolymers can be produced from biomass for use in the packaging and container industries. Nevertheless, the polymers are more expensive compared with commodity plastics, this is due to the fact that they have biodegradable and biocompatible characteristics. Blend between commodity plastics and biopolymers is one of ways for production of biocomposites, this can combine the outstanding properties of more than one existing polymers. The approach is typically inexpensive and fewer time-consuming than the development of new polymeric materials.
Biocomposite is a composite material which produced from a polymer matrix and natural fibres. The mechanical properties of commodity plastic (matrix) utilised can be increased through the usage of biopolymer (fibre-formed) and providing biocompatibility character. The matrix is significant to shield the fibres from environmental decomposition and physical destruction, and also to grip the fibres concurrently. On the other hand, biopolymers can replace natural fibres such as jute, flax, hemp, etc. Furthermore, the attention in biocomposites is promptly rising especially in industrial applications (automotive, aerospace, defence, construction, etc.) and consumer products as well. This is because of its tremendous advantages for instance renewable, low-priced, reusable, and biodegradable. One of biopolymer fibres benefits is their low density than glass fibres, which giving a lighter in weight of biocomposite products. The biocomposites are also safer to be produced and easily processed that matched to a broad range of applications. Last but not least, the products have an appearance similar to that of wood with high impact and stiffness properties compared to commodity plastics.
Date of Input: 27/09/2018 | Updated: 03/10/2019 | nazlia
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