Biomacromolecules 21 (5) 1892-1901 [2020-05-11; online 2020-03-04]
Poly[(3-hydroxybutyrate)-ran-(3-hydroxyvalerate)] (PHBV) is a bacterial polyester with a strong potential as a substitute for oil-based thermoplastics due to its biodegradability and renewability. However, its inherent slow crystallization rate limits its thermomechanical properties and therefore its applications. In this work, surface-modified cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have been investigated as green and biosourced nucleating and reinforcing agent for PHBV matrix. Different ester moieties from the CNCs were thereby produced through a green one-pot hydrolysis/Fisher esterification. Beyond the improved dispersion, the CNCs surface esterification affected the thermal and thermomechanical properties of PHBV. The results demonstrate that butyrate-modified CNCs, mimicking the PHBV chemical structure, brought a considerable improvement toward the CNCs/matrix interface, leading to an enhancement of the PHBV thermomechanical properties via a more efficient stress transfer, especially above its glass transition.