PLA/MMT/CNW-CS and PLA/MMT/CNW/AH hybrid nanocomposites were prepared by solution casting technique. The tensile strength of PLA/MMT/CNW-CS and PLA/MMT/CNW-AH hybrid nanocomposites increased significantly by the incorporation of 1 phr of CNW-CS and CNW-AH into P/MT5 nanocomposite, respectively. In addition, the Young’s modulus of hybrid nanocomposites increased steadily with increasing CNW-CS and CNW-AH filler contents in hybrid nanocomposites. Due to the possible nucleation of crazes in the amorphous fraction of the PLA and the formation of shear bands, the ductility of hybrid nanocomposites increased significantly compared to P/MT5 nanocomposite. The formation of an intercalated nanostructure in hybrid nanocomposites was confirmed by TEM analysis. A uniform dispersion of fillers was readily apparent with the addition of 1 phr CNW-CS and CNW-AH into P/MT5 nanocomposite as confirmed by TEM analysis. The incorporation of CNW-CS and CNW-AH into P/MT5 nanocomposite was able to improve the thermal stability of PLA nanocomposites. FT-IR analysis showed that some polar interactions occurred between the PLA and the both fillers. The biodegradability of hybrid nanocomposites increased by the addition of CNW-CS and CNW-AH fillers compared to the P/MT5 nanocomposite and neat PLA. The weight loss percentage was dependent on the CNW-CS and CNW-AH content and burial time, whereby the weight loss increased with increasing CNW-CS and CNW-AH fillers and burial time. In general, both CNW-CS and CNW-AH showed a similar trend in terms of all properties. However, the incorporation of CNW-CS into P/MT5 nanocomposites indicated slightly higher improvement in terms of mechanical and thermal properties compared to CNW-AH due to the higher aspect ratio and better interactions of CNW-CS with both MMT and PLA compared to CNW-AH. The remaining challenge is to find an effective method to further enhance adhesion between PLA and both MMT and CNWs. Overcoming this challenge is expected to further enhance the tensile and thermal properties of these interesting materials.

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