Effects of Epoxidized Palm Oil (EPO) on Mechanical Properties of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
Plastics are the most popular material for conventional usage especially in packaging application. However, this material becomes problematic when it reaches the disposal stage. Most of them can take almost hundreds or even thousands of years to degrade. Thus, biodegradable materials, for instance polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), are the best option to replace conventional plastics. The PHA are varied from 1 to 5 wt% epoxidized palm oil (EPO) loading and the structure and mechanical properties are studied through thermal, chemical, morphology and mechanical analysis. FTIR spectra and DSC thermogram show good compatibility between EPO loading and PHA matrix. 3 wt% EPO gives the best improvement in terms of tensile strength, modulus tensile, flexural strength and flexural modulus with improvements around 331%, 281%, 294% and 300% respectively compared to the performance of neat PHA. SEM micrographs also reveal that the homogenous dispersion of EPO loading into PHA matrix at 1, 2 and 3 wt% of PHA. The addition of EPO loading in the PHA matrix makes stress transfer from matrix to plasticizer (EPO) and increases the chain mobility PHA which results in high flexibility and stiffness.
Keywords: biodegradable, epoxidized palm oil, polyhydroxyalkanoates, plasticizer