Submitted to: Annual Meeting of the Bio Environmentally Degradable Polymer Society
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Mulch films were cast from aqueous suspensions of a biodegradable synthetic polymer and cellulosic fibers. Films were examined for mechanical, thermal, and degradative properties. Polymers in some formulations were also crosslinked to improve film properties. Microscopic examination revealed good compatibility between the polymeric matrix and cellulose fibers. All film samples swelled in aqueous solution While the extent of swelling was inversely related to the degree of crosslinking, cohesiveness of the film was directly correlated. Only samples with 8% crosslinking agent were sufficiently cohesive to maintain their integrity. Thermogravimetric analysis indicated suitable thermal stability within the range of practical applications (Td >150 deg C). Differences recorded between experimental and calculated degradation curves were attributed to chemical/physical interactions between the polymer and the cellulosic components. DSC analyses revealed an elevated glass transition for the synthetic polymer due to organic fillers in the formulation. Increasing the amount of plasticizers, however, lowered the glass transition and melting point. Increased fiber content decreased percent elongation, tensile strength and Young's Modulus of the polymer matrix. Interestingly, increased concentration of plasticizers increased the percent elongation but decreased both tensile strength and Young's Modulus. Brittleness generally increased with increased lignin content and the percent elongation values ranged from 70-200%. Degradation tests showed that both synthetic polymer and cellulosic material degraded. However, cellulose degradation occurred at a comparatively slower rate.