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J Phys Chem B. 2017 Jun 29;121(25):6271-6279. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b03976. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Tailor-Made Dispersion and Distribution of Stereocomplex Crystallites in Poly(l-lactide)/Elastomer Blends toward Largely Enhanced Crystallization Rate and Impact Toughness.

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College of Polymer Science and Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials Engineering, Sichuan University , Chengdu 610065, P. R. China.


Stereocomplex (SC) crystallites, formed between poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) and poly(d-lactide), exhibit great potential to substantially enhance crystallization rate of PLLA-based materials as an eco-friendly nucleating agent. However, the nucleation efficiency of the SC crystallites is still far below an expected level, mostly on account of their strong aggregation tendency in PLLA/PDLA melts. Herein, taking PLLA/poly(ethylene-methyl acrylate-glycidyl methacrylate) (E-MA-GMA) blends as an example, we report a unique and facile strategy to control the dispersion and distribution of SC crystallites within the PLLA matrix by using elastomeric E-MA-GMA as carrier for the incorporation of PDLA. To do this, PDLA was first blended with E-MA-GMA or chemically grafted onto the E-MA-GMA. During subsequent melt-blending of PLLA and the E-MA-GMA/PDLA master batch, the PDLA chain clusters predispersed in the E-MA-GMA phase can gradually migrate into PLLA matrix and then collaborate with the matrix chains to form large amounts of tiny and well-dispersed SC crystallites. Compared with the SC-crystallite agglomerates formed by the direct melt-blending of PLLA and PDLA components, such tiny SC crystallites are much more effective in accelerating PLLA matrix crystallization. More interestingly, when PDLA chains are grafted onto the EMA-GMA, the formed SC crystallites tend to preferentially distribute at the blend interface and thus induce not only optimal nucleation efficiency but also superior impact toughness because these interface-localized SC crystallites can also serve as bridges to enhance interface adhesion. This work could open a new avenue in designing heat-resistant and supertough PLLA blends via controllable construction of SC crystallites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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