Waste brewed tea leaf derived cellulose nanofiber reinforced fully bio-based waterborne polyester nanocomposite as an environmentally benign material
Bio-resources have carved a unique niche for the ever-increasing thrust of the global scientific community to impart green credentials to various research outputs along with the demands for advanced materials. In this milieu, the authors wish to fabricate a fully bio-based waterborne polyester nanocomposite as an advanced material using different bio-based reactants and cellulose nanofibers as the nanomaterial. Three different compositions of the nanocomposite were prepared at different loadings of cellulose nanofibers (0.25, 0.5 and 1 weight%) which were isolated from waste brewed green tea leaves. The structural attributes of the nanocomposites were evaluated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopic and transmission electron microscopic studies. The nanocomposites were further cured with glycerol based epoxy and fatty acid based poly(amido amine) as the hardener to obtain the respective thermosets. The significant improvements in mechanical properties including tensile strength (13.71–22.33 MPa), elongation at break (128–290%), toughness (15.65–45.18 MJ m−3) and scratch hardness (8 to >10 kg) were observed for the thermosetting nanocomposites and the thermogravimetric analysis supports their high thermostability (234–265 °C). Further, the thermosetting nanocomposites were found to be highly biodegradable by Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial strains, hemocompatible with the erythrocytes present in RBCs and showed antioxidant properties. Thus, this nanocomposite could be used as a promising eco-friendly material for different related applications.