This research evaluates the effects of filler content and silanization on thermal, morphological and mechanical properties of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (PHBH)-based composites. Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) was obtained by a mechanical treatment of high-pressure homogenization, starting from oat hull fiber, a byproduct of the agri-food sector. MFC reinforced PHBH composites were prepared by melt compounding. SEM and FT-IR analysis showed a good dispersion of the filler in the polymeric matrix, denoting the effectiveness of the surface silanization process. The thermal stability of PHBH composites remains substantially unchanged, and the glass transition temperature marginally increases with the increase of the filler content. Furthermore, silanized MFC shows slightly reinforcing mechanical effects on PHBH composites, such as the increase of 10% of the Young modulus with an increase of the maximum tensile stress as well. This finding has an economical interest since the results showed that MFC, deriving from a byproduct, can be successfully used as filler, decreasing the cost of the bio-based compound leaving substantially unaltered its mechanical and thermal properties.
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