Thermophysical, Interfacial and Decomposition Analyses of Polyhydroxyalkanoates introduced against Organic and Inorganic Surfaces
Description: The development of a "cradle-to-cradle" mindset with both material performance during utilization and end of life disposal is a critical need for both ecological and economic considerations. The main limitation to the use of the biopolymers is their mechanical properties. Reinforcements are therefore a good alternative but disposal concerns then arise. Thus the objective of this dissertation is to investigate a biopolymer nanocomposite where the filler is a synthetically prepared layer double hydroxide (inorganic interface); and a biopolymer paper (organic interface) based coating or laminate. The underlying issues driving performance are the packing density of the biopolymer and the interaction with the reinforcement. Since the polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs (the biopolymers used for the manufacture of the nanocomposites and coatings) are semicrystalline materials, the glass transition was investigated using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and dielectric spectroscopy (DES), whereas the melt crystallization, cold crystallization and melting points were investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to estimate crystallinity in the coated material given the low thermal mass of the PHA in the PHA coating. The significant enhancement of the crystallization rate in the PHA nanocomposite was probed using DSC and polarized optical microscopy (POM) and analyzed using Avrami and Lauritzen-Hoffman models. Both composites showed a significant improvement in the mechanical performance obtained by DMA, tensile and impact testing. The degradation and decomposition of the two composites were investigated in low microbial activity soil for the cellulose paper (to slow down the degradation rate that occurs in compost) and in compost. An in-house system according to the American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM D-98 (2003) was engineered. Soil decomposition showed that PHA coating into and onto the cellulose paper can be considered to be a useful method for the assessment of the degradability of the biopolymer. ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Dagnon, Koffi Leonard
Partner: UNT Libraries