Melt Processing of Ethylene-Acrylic Acid Copolymer Composites Reinforced with Nanocellulose
Journal article, 2020
To investigate the impact of process design factors such as number of passes, screw design and screw type, a poly(ethylene-co-acrylic acid) and a masterbatch containing 40 vol% nanocellulose were compounded using a twin-screw extruder with two different screw configurations. The 20 vol% composite pellets obtained, containing nanocellulose of different morphologies, cellulose nanofibrils and cellulose nanocrystals, were re-extruded several times to study the effect of re-extrusion. The compounded pellets were extruded into films using a single-screw extruder. These films contained aggregates of the nanocellulose material, which was reduced in size upon re-extrusion leading to an improvement in properties of the composites. With the best combination of process factors, the Young's modulus and stress at break of the composites increased by factors of 10 and 1.6, respectively. The presence of a strong network of the cellulosic entities was observed qualitatively using melt rheology upon re-extrusion. Re-extrusion had a negligible effect on the crystallinity of the composites. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2020. (c) 2020 The Authors. Polymer Engineering & Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Plastics Engineers.