Composite compounds based on hemp and flax fibers in triethyl citrate plasticized starch acetate were prepared by melt processing. For better properties and processability, compounds with plasticizer contents in the range 20–35 wt% were screened. Composites were prepared with fiber contents up to 50 wt%. The composite mechanical properties were measured from injection molded test specimens. A Young's modulus of 8.3 GPa and stress at maximum load of 51 MPa were obtained with 40 wt% flax fiber in a plasticized starch acetate with 20 wt% triethyl citrate. Decreasing the plasticizer and increasing the fiber content, the tensile properties were consistently improved. An almost linear relation between fiber content and the tensile properties was found. The increase of the fiber content first improved the impact strength, but at higher fiber contents resulted in a reduction of impact strength. The quality of the produced materials was found to be good; the variation in properties between duplicated compounds was acceptable low, the variation in density and fiber content along a single tensile specimen was low, and finally, the porosity content was low even at high fiber content. The latter result was verified with scanning electron microscope images of fracture surfaces of the composites.
Nättinen, K., Hyvärinen, S., Joffe, R., Wallström, L., & Madsen, B. (2010). Naturally compatible: Starch acetate/cellulosic fiber composites. I. Processing and properties. Polymer Composites, 31(3), 524-535. https://doi.org/10.1002/pc.20833