NC State
Muneer, F., Johansson, E., Hedenqvist, M. S., Gällstedt, M., and Newson, W. R. (2014). "Preparation, properties, protein cross-linking and biodegradability of plasticizer-solvent free hemp fibre reinforced wheat gluten, glutenin, and gliadin composites," BioRes. 9(3), 5246-5261.


The present study is aimed at evaluating the use of plant-based polymers and fibres for the production of sustainable biocomposites. For the first time, plasticiser/solvent-free hemp fibre-reinforced wheat gluten and hemp-gliadin and glutenin composites were obtained by compression moulding at different temperatures. The plasticiser/solvent-free sample preparation method developed in this study facilitated the use of a powdered protein matrix with a mat of randomly oriented hemp fibres. The tensile and protein cross-linking properties, as well as the biodegradability, were investigated. The addition of hemp fibre to the protein matrix increased the E-modulus by 20 to 60% at 130 °C. An increase in moulding temperature from 110 to 130 °C resulted in an increase in maximum stress due to the formation of intermolecular bonds between protein chains. The gliadin composites had higher E-modulus and maximum stress and showed a larger increase in protein polymerisation with increased temperature compared to the glutenin composites. A comparison of tensile properties revealed that the composites were stiffer and stronger compared to several similarly produced biobased composites. The composites were found to be fully biodegradable under a simulated soil environment after 180 days. Biocomposites produced in the present study were found to be environmentally friendly with fairly good mechanical properties.
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