Due to increasing environmental pressure for biodegradable products, especially in polymeric materials, in order to meet the demands of the biological cycles of the circular economy, new materials have been developed as a sustainability strategy. This study proposes a composite material developed from the biodegradable polymer PLA Ecovio® (polylactic acid - PLA) with natural sisal fibers, where the soybean ester was used as a plasticizer, which can aid in adhesion between the materials and fibers, making the most attractive final composite from an environmental point of view. The composites were obtained by extrusion. The materials tests were produced and submitted to biodegradation tests. Through the biodegradation tests, it can be seen that the biodegradable polymer composition with 5% sisal fiber presented about 12.4% more biodegradability compared to the polymer without fiber addition. It has also been found that the plasticizer was not a compatible with fibers and the polymer. Finally, fibers help to anticipate the decomposition process of the material when subjected to conditions of a landfill. Therefore, its intrinsic properties are not affected during its use, only the biodegradation process begins after its exposure to landfill conditions.
Shell wastes represent a considerable quantity of byproducts in the shellfish aquaculture. From the viewpoint of ecofriendly and economical disposal, it is highly desirable to convert these residues into high value-added products for industrial applications. So far, the utilization of shell wastes was confined at relatively lower levels, e.g. wastewater decontaminant, soil conditioner, fertilizer constituent, feed additive and liming agent. Shell wastes consist of calcium carbonate and organic matrices, with the former accounting for 95-99% by weight. Being the richest source of biogenic CaCO3, shell wastes are suitable to prepare high purity CaCO3 powders, which have been extensively applied in various industrial products, such as paper, rubber, paints and pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, the shell waste could be further processed to be the filler of polymer composites. This paper presents a study on the potential use of mussel shell waste as biofiller to produce the composite materials with different epoxy matrices, such as bisphenol-A type, CTBN modified and polyurethane modified epoxy resins. Morphology and mechanical properties of shell particles reinforced epoxy composites were evaluated to assess the possibility of using it as a new material. The effects of shell particle content on the mechanical properties of the composites were investigated. It was shown that in all composites, the tensile strength and Young’s modulus values increase with the increase of mussel shell particles content from 10 wt% to 50 wt%, while the elongation at break decreased, compared to pure epoxy resin. The highest Young’s modulus values were determined for bisphenol-A type epoxy composites.
Today, the pollution due to non-degradable material such as plastics, has led to studies about the development of environmental-friendly material. Because of biodegradability obtained from natural sources, polylactid acid (PLA) and ijuk fiber are interesting to modify into a composite. This material is also expected to reduce the impact of environmental pollution. Surface modification of ijuk fiber through alkalinization with 0.25 M NaOH solution for 30 minutes was aimed to enhance its compatibility to PLA, in order to improve properties of the composite such as the mechanical properties. Alkalinization of the ijuk fibers annihilates some surface components such as lignin, wax and hemicelloluse, so the pore on the surface clearly appeared, decreasing of the density and diameter of the ijuk fibers. The change of the ijuk fiber properties leads to increase the mechanical properties of PLA composites reinforced the ijuk fibers through strengthening of the mechanical interlocking with the PLA matrix. An addition to enhance the distribution of the fibers in the PLA matrix, the stirring during DCM solvent evaporation from the mixture of the ijuk fibers and the dissolved-PLA can reduce amount of the trapped-voids and fibers pull-out phenomena, which can decrease the mechanical properties of the composite.
Aligned and random nanofibrous scaffolds of PVA/PCL/nHA were fabricated by electrospinning method. The composite nanofibrous scaffolds were subjected to detailed analysis. Morphological investigations revealed that the prepared nanofibers have uniform morphology and the average fiber diameters of aligned and random scaffolds were 135.5 and 290 nm, respectively. The obtained scaffolds have a porous structure with porosity of 88 and 76% for random and aligned nanofibers, respectively. Furthermore, FTIR analysis demonstrated that there were strong intramolecular interactions between the molecules of PVA/PCL/nHA. On the other hand, mechanical characterizations show that aligning the nanofibers, could significantly improve the rigidity of the resultant biocomposite nanofibrous scaffolds.
Bionanotechnology deals with nanoscopic interactions between nanostructured materials and biological systems. Polymer nanocomposites with optimized biological activity have attracted great attention. Nanoclay is considered as reinforcing nanofiller in manufacturing of high performance nanocomposites. In current study, organomodified-nanoclay with negatively charged silicate layers was incorporated into biomedical grade silicone rubber. Nanoparticle loading has been tailored to enhance cell behavior. Addition of nanoparticles led to improved mechanical properties of substrate with enhanced strength and stiffness while no toxic effects was observed. Results indicated improved viability and proliferation of cells by addition of nanofillers. The improved mechanical properties of the matrix result in proper cell response through adjustment and arrangement of cytoskeletal fibers. Results can be applied in tissue engineering when enhanced substrates are required for improvement of cell behavior for in vivo applications.
The ever growing sentiment of environmentalism across the globe has made many people think on the green lines. But most of such ideas halt short of implementation because of the short term economic viability issues with the concept of going green. In this paper we have tried to amalgamate the green concept with social entrepreneurship for solving a variety of issues faced by the society today. In addition the paper also tries to ensure that the short term economic viability does not act as a deterrent. The paper comes up three sustainable models of social entrepreneurship which tackle a wide assortment of issues such as nutrition problem, land problems, pollution problems and employment problems. The models described fall under the following heads: - Spirulina cultivation: The model addresses nutrition, land and employment issues. It deals with cultivation of a blue green alga called Spirulina which can be used as a very nutritious food. Also, the implementation of this model would bring forth employment to the poor people of the area. - Biocomposites: The model comes up with various avenues in which biocomposites can be used in an economically sustainable manner. This model deals with the environmental concerns and addresses the depletion of natural resources. - Packaging material from empty fruit bunches (EFB) of oil palm: This one deals with air and land pollution. It is intended to be a substitute for packaging materials made from Styrofoam and plastics which are non-biodegradable. It takes care of the biodegradability and land pollution issues. It also reduces air pollution as the empty fruit bunches are not incinerated. All the three models are sustainable and do not deplete the natural resources any further. This paper explains each of the models in detail and deals with the operational/manufacturing procedures and cost analysis while also throwing light on the benefits derived and sustainability aspects.