Cellulose nanowhisker (NWC) was extracted by hydrolysing Pennisetum purpureum (PP) fibres with acid and alkali. They were subjected to different periods of acid hydrolysis; 30, 45, and 60 min. NWC morphology and physicochemical properties were characterised by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), particle size analyser, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and thermogravimetric analysis. NWC3, which underwent the longest hydrolysis time, showed the smallest width and length, under TEM. All samples presented a needle-like shape under TEM and AFM; uneven lengths and irregular shapes under FESEM; and a broad range of distribution, with the particle size analyser. All samples exhibited a good crystallinity index (CrI)-72.0 to 74.6%. The highest CrI% corresponded to 60 min of acid hydrolysis. Thermogravimetric analysis showed thermal stability between 310.72 °C and 336.28 °C. Thus, cellulose nanowhisker from PP fibres, have high potential as bio-nanocomposites.
A packaging material that is environment-friendly with excellent mechanical and physicochemical properties, biodegradable and ultraviolet (UV) protection and thermal stability was prepared to reduce plastic waste. Six different concentrations of Pennisetum purpureum/Napier cellulose nanowhiskers (NWCs) (i.e. 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 3.0 wt%) were used to reinforce polylactic acid (PLA) by a solvent casting method. The resulting bionanocomposite film samples were characterised in terms of their morphology, chemical structure, crystallinity, thermal degradation and stability, light transmittance, water absorption, biodegradability, and physical and mechanical properties. Field-emission scanning electron microscopy showed the excellent dispersion of NWC in the PLA matrix occurred with NWC concentrations of 0.5-1.5 wt%. All the bionanocomposite film samples exhibited good thermal stability at approximately 343-359 °C. The highest water absorption was 1.94%. The lowest transparency at λ800 was 16.16% for the PLA/3.0% NWC bionanocomposite film, which also has the lowest UVA and UVB transmittance of 7.49% and 4.02%, respectively, making it suitable for packaging materials. The PLA/1.0% NWC film exhibited the highest crystallinity of 50.09% and high tensile strength and tensile modulus of 21.22 MPa and 11.35 MPa, respectively.
The mechanical, thermal, and morphological properties of a 3D porous Pennisetum purpureum (PP)/polylactic acid (PLA) based scaffold were investigated. In this study, a scaffold containing P. purpureum and PLA was produced using the solvent casting and particulate leaching method. P. purpureum fibre, also locally known as Napier grass, is composed of 46% cellulose, 34% hemicellulose, and 20% lignin. PLA composites with various P. purpureum contents (10%, 20%, and 30%) were prepared and subsequently characterised. The morphologies, structures and thermal behaviours of the prepared composite scaffolds were characterised using field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The morphology was studied using FESEM; the scaffold possessed 70-200μm-sized pores with a high level of interconnectivity. The moisture content and mechanical properties of the developed porous scaffolds were further characterised. The P. purpureum/PLA scaffold had a greater porosity factor (99%) and compression modulus (5.25MPa) than those of the pure PLA scaffold (1.73MPa). From the results, it can be concluded that the properties of the highly porous P. purpureum/PLA scaffold developed in this study can be controlled and optimised. This can be used to facilitate the construction of implantable tissue-engineered cartilage.
The in vitro degradation and mechanical properties of a 3D porous Pennisetum purpureum (PP)/polylactic acid (PLA)-based scaffold were investigated. In this study, composite scaffolds with PP to PLA ratios of 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30% were immersed in a PBS solution at 37°C for 40 days. Compression tests were conducted to evaluate the compressive strength and modulus of the scaffolds, according to ASTM F451-95. The compression strength of the scaffolds was found to increase from 1.94 to 9.32MPa, while the compressive modulus increased from 1.73 to 5.25MPa as the fillers' content increased from 0wt% to 30wt%. Moreover, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and X-ray diffraction were employed to observe and analyse the microstructure and fibre-matrix interface. Interestingly, the degradation rate was reduced for the PLA/PP20scaffold, though insignificantly, this could be attributed to the improved mechanical properties and stronger fibre-matrix interface. Microstructure changes after degradation were observed using FESEM. The FESEM results indicated that a strong fibre-matrix interface was formed in the PLA/PP20scaffold, which reflected the addition of P. purpureum into PLA decreasing the degradation rate compared to in pure PLA scaffolds. The results suggest that the P. purpureum/PLA scaffold degradation rate can be altered and controlled to meet requirements imposed by a given tissue engineering application.