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01-10-2007 | Issue 5/2007

Cellulose 5/2007

Characterization of the barrier properties of composites of HDPE and purified cellulose fibers

Journal:
Cellulose > Issue 5/2007
Authors:
A. Fendler, M. P. Villanueva, E. Gimenez, J. M. Lagarón

Abstract

The present work presents and discusses the interrelation between composition, morphology, thermal history, mechanical and barrier properties to oxygen and limonene of composites of HDPE/MA-PE/cellulose fibers of significant interest in, among others, food packaging applications. From the overall results, it was observed that increasing the loading of purified alpha-cellulose fibers in the polyethylene matrix beyond 10 wt.% led to a decrease in the permeability coefficient of d-limonene, effect which was found to be primarily related to a decrease in the overall solubility of this strongly plasticizing aroma component. On the other hand, the oxygen permeability was found to decrease to a significant extend with increasing fiber content beyond 5 wt.%, but this effect was more strongly ascribed to a significant decrease in the diffusion coefficient. Therefore, the fibers are thought to generate a more tortuous path for the non-interacting gas molecules to travel across the composites thickness, even when tested at high relative humidity conditions. Optimum fiber loading levels in terms of overall property balance were found to be around 20 wt.%.

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