In the field of polymer reinforcement, it is important to understand the interactions involved between the polymer matrix and the reinforcing component. This paper is a contribution to the fundamental understanding of the adhesion mechanisms involved in natural fibre reinforced composites. We report on the use of the colloidal probe technique for the assessment of the adhesion behaviour between poly(lactic acid) microspheres and embedded cross-sections of regenerated lignocellulosic fibres. These fibres consisted of tailored mixtures of cellulose, lignin and xylan, the amount of which was determined beforehand. The influence of the chemical composition of the fibres on the adhesion behaviour was studied in ambient air and in dry atmosphere. In ambient air, capillary forces resulted in larger adhesion between the sphere and the fibres. Changing the ambient medium to a dry nitrogen atmosphere allowed reducing the capillary forces, leading to a drop in the adhesion forces. Differences between fibres of distinct chemical compositions could be measured only on freshly cut surfaces. Moreover, the surface energy of the fibres was assessed by inverse gas chromatography. Compared to fibres containing solely cellulose, the presence of lignin and/or hemicellulose led to higher adhesion and lower surface energy, suggesting that these chemicals could serve as natural coupling agents between hydrophobic and hydrophilic components.
- Colloidal probe
- Inverse gas chromatography