Bionanocomposites: A Greener Alternative for Future Generation
Modern scenario about the conservation of natural resources and recycling has led to the renewed interest concerning biomaterials with the focus on renewable raw materials. The use and removal of traditional composite materials usually made of glass, carbon, aramid fibers being reinforced with unsaturated polyester, epoxy or phenolics are considered crucially due to increasing global awareness and demands of legislative authorities. Therefore, the growing awareness of the pressing need for greener and more sustainable technologies has focused attention on use of bio-based polymers instead of conventional petroleum based polymers to fabricate biodegradable materials with high performance. Another aspect, which is receiving more attention, is the use of alternate resource prior to the use of the conventional materials. The important aspect of composite materials is that they can be designed and tailored to meet different desires. Natural fibers such as hemp, ramie, jute, etc. are cheap, biodegradable and most importantly easily available worldwide. The bio composites prepared by using natural fibers and varieties of natural polymers such as soy flour, starch, gluten, poly(lactic acid), etc. have evoked considerable interest in recent years due to their ecofriendly nature. These natural polymers have some negative aspects also. Thus modification by cross-linking, grafting, blending and inclusion of nanotechnology provide desired properties and widen the spectrum of applications of bio composites. Biocomposites offer modern world an alternative solution to waste-disposal problems associated with conventional petroleum based plastics. Therefore, the development of commercially viable “green products” based on natural fibers and polymers for a wide range of application is on the rise. Moreover, using nanotechnology for the synthesis of biocomposites provide better mechanical properties and thermal stability. In short, the use of bionanocomposites may provide us a healthier environment owing to its multifaceted advantages over conventional polymers. This chapter discusses on the potential efficacy of natural
polymers and its various derivatives for preparation of biocomposites to be used for varieties of applications.