Properties of Poplar Fiber/PLA Composites: Comparison on the Effect of Maleic Anhydride and KH550 Modification of Poplar Fiber
To improve the interfacial adhesion and dispersion of a poplar fiber in a polylactic acid (PLA) matrix, maleic anhydride (MA) and a silane coupling agent (KH550) were used to modify the poplar fiber. The poplar fiber/PLA composites were produced with different modifier contents. The mechanical, thermal, rheological, and physical properties of composites were investigated. A comparison of different natural fiber modifications on the properties of composites was also analyzed. The results showed that both MA and KH550 could improve the interfacial adhesion between the poplar fiber and PLA, resulting in the enhanced mechanical properties of the composite, with 17% and 23% increases of tensile strength for 0.5% MA and 2% KH550, respectively. The thermal properties of the composites were improved at 6% KH550 (a 9% enhancement of T90%) and decreased at 0.5% MA (a 6% decrement of T90%). The wettability of the composites obtained a 11.3% improvement at 4% KH550 and a 5% reduction at 4% MA. Therefore, factors such as mechanical properties, economic efficiency, and durability should be carefully considered when choosing the modifier to improve the property of the composite.