Properties and Degradability of Poly(Butylene Adipate-Co-Terephthalate)/Calcium Carbonate Films Modified by Polyethylene Glycol
Poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) is a biodegradable polymer synthesized from petrochemical resources. PBAT has an exceptionally high elongation at break values which makes it one of the most promising substitutes for LDPE packaging films. However, the applicability of PBAT films is still limited by low strength and high production costs. In this work, we used polyethylene glycol 600 (PEG-600) as a coating agent to modify the surface of calcium carbonate and improve compatibility with the polymer matrix. A series of PBAT/CaCO3 composite films having different CaCO3 particle size and content of coating agent was prepared using extrusion blow molding. The effect of particle size of CaCO3 filler and the content of a coating agent on the mechanical and rheological properties of composite films have been studied. The biodegradation properties have been tested by burying the samples in soil or keeping them in artificial seawater for 90 days. It was shown that the addition of PEG-600 improves compatibility between the matrix and CaCO3 filler as polar &ndash;OH groups of PEG have a high affinity toward the polar surface of CaCO3. Moreover, the hydrophilicity of PEG-600 increased the diffusivity of water molecules and facilitated PBAT degradation. This work provides experimental data and theoretical guidance that support the development of high-performance PBAT/calcium carbonate films for the single use packaging industry.