Effects of Kraft lignin and corn cob agro-residue on the properties of injected-moulded biocomposites

Hélène de Baynast, Amélie Tribot, Benjamin Niez, Fabrice Audonnet, Eric Badel, Guy Cesar, Claude Gilles Dussap, Emmanuelle Gastaldi, Laurent Massacrier, Philippe Michaud (Corresponding Author), Cédric Delattre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Lignocellulosic by-products are frequently disposed by means of combustion. This study investigates an alternative route for corn cob and Kraft lignin resources in order to support circular economy. The respective plant-based fibres and filler were compounded for the first time together with a poly(lactic acid) (PLA) matrix. Consecutively, seven different biocomposites were processed by injection-moulding and further characterized. The biocomposite containing a mixture of Kraft lignin and corn cob (12 wt% in total) exhibited the highest flexural strength (84 MPa). A proper wetting of PLA onto the corn cob particles demonstrated a good compatibility at matrix/fibre interface. PLA molecular structure changed in presence of 20 wt% lignin filler, with effect on the glass transition temperature and on the composite mechanical strength. The fibres moderately influenced composites surface tension, while Kraft lignin contributed to a slight increase of surface hydrophobicity. Surface energy (σsTotal) of composites have been estimated at 27.6, 28.7 and 27.8 mN/m for PLA/KL-20, PLA/CC-10 and PLA/KL-15/CC-5 respectively. While the polar component (σsPolar) have been estimated at 17.8, 20.0 and 18.7 mN/m for PLA/KL-20, PLA/CC-10 and PLA/KL-15/CC-5 respectively. Unlike the PLA/corn cob composite, those containing Kraft lignin were entirely biodegraded within 2 months in industrial composting conditions study. The materials could be utilized for end-use products thanks to their good mechanical and thermal properties. By adding wood-lignin and corn by-products, materials cost and carbon footprint shall decrease in comparison to pure PLA, while being a biodegradable and sustainable replacement of polyolefins.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114421
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biopolymer
  • Environmental degradation
  • Mechanical properties
  • Microstructure
  • Natural fibres
  • Thermal analysis


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