Thermal Behavior of Green Cellulose-Filled Thermoplastic Elastomer Polymer Blends
A recently developed cellulose hybrid chemical treatment consists of two steps: solvent exchange (with ethanol or hexane) and chemical grafting of maleic anhydride (MA) on the surface of fibers. It induces a significant decrease in cellulose moisture content and causes some changes in the thermal resistance of analyzed blend samples, as well as surface properties. The thermal characteristics of ethylene-norbornene copolymer (TOPAS) blends filled with hybrid chemically modified cellulose fibers
... d cellulose fibers (UFC100) have been widely described on the basis of differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. Higher thermal stability is observed for the materials filled with the fibers which were dried before any of the treatments carried out. Dried cellulose filled samples start to degrade at approximately 330 °C while undried UFC100 specimens begin to degrade around 320 °C. Interestingly, the most elevated thermal resistance was detected for samples filled with cellulose altered only with solvents (both ethanol and hexane). In order to support the supposed thermal resistance trends of prepared blend materials, apparent activation energies assigned to cellulose degradation (EA1) and polymer matrix decomposition (EA2) have been calculated and presented in the article. It may be evidenced that apparent activation energies assigned to the first decomposition step are higher in case of the systems filled with UFC100 dried prior to the modification process. Moreover, the results have been enriched using surface free energy analysis of the polymer blends. The surface free energy polar part (Ep) raises considering samples filled with not dried UFC100. On the other hand, when cellulose fibers are dried prior to the modification process, then the blend sample's dispersive part of surface free energy is increased with respect to that containing unmodified fiber. As polymer blend Ep exhibits higher values reflecting enhanced material degradation potential, the cellulose fibers employment leads to more eco-friendly production and responsible waste management. This is in accordance with the rules of sustainable development.