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Polymers (Basel). 2017 Jan 9;9(1). pii: E22. doi: 10.3390/polym9010022.

Investigation of Thermal and Thermomechanical Properties of Biodegradable PLA/PBSA Composites Processed via Supercritical Fluid-Assisted Foam Injection Molding.

Author information

1
Department of Automotive Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29607, USA. spradee@g.clemson.edu.
2
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA. spradee@g.clemson.edu.
3
Polymer Engineering Center, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA. kharbas@gmail.com.
4
Polymer Engineering Center, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA. turng@engr.wisc.edu.
5
Polymer Institute, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA. Abraham.Avalos@utoledo.edu.
6
Polymer Institute, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA. joseph.lawrence@utoledo.edu.
7
Department of Automotive Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29607, USA. spilla@clemson.edu.
8
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA. spilla@clemson.edu.

Abstract

Bio-based polymer foams have been gaining immense attention in recent years due to their positive contribution towards reducing the global carbon footprint, lightweighting, and enhancing sustainability. Currently, polylactic acid (PLA) remains the most abundant commercially consumed biopolymer, but suffers from major drawbacks such as slow crystallization rate and poor melt processability. However, blending of PLA with a secondary polymer would enhance the crystallization rate and the thermal properties based on their compatibility. This study investigates the physical and compatibilized blends of PLA/poly (butylene succinate-co-adipate) (PBSA) processed via supercritical fluid-assisted (ScF) injection molding technology using nitrogen (N₂) as a facile physical blowing agent. Furthermore, this study aims at understanding the effect of blending and ScF foaming of PLA/PBSA on crystallinity, melting, and viscoelastic behavior. Results show that compatibilization, upon addition of triphenyl phosphite (TPP), led to an increase in molecular weight and a shift in melting temperature. Additionally, the glass transition temperature (Tg) obtained from the tanδ curve was observed to be in agreement with the Tg value predicted by the Gordon⁻Taylor equation, further confirming the compatibility of PLA and PBSA. The compatibilization of ScF-foamed PLA⁻PBSA was found to have an increased crystallinity and storage modulus compared to their physically foamed counterparts.

KEYWORDS:

compatibilization; crystallization; foaming; poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate); polylactide

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