Cellular biocomposites from polylactide and microfibrillated cellulose
This paper describes the production of "green" microfibrillated cellulose-reinforced polylactide cellular biocomposites using a wet mixing technique combined with super-critical carbon dioxide foaming. The effect of composition on the morphology, density and compression modulus of foams was investigated for different processing parameters, along with the use of a chain extender to modify the melt elasticity. Foams with mean densities ranging from 0.18 to 0.32 g/cm(3) were obtained for the neat polylactide and polylactide/5 wt% microfibrillated cellulose, respectively, and there was a corresponding increase in compressive modulus from 25 to 47 MPa. The addition of the chain extender is argued to compensate the molar mass loss induced by the different processing steps, promoting more uniform foam structures and allowing a density reduction of up to 75%.