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Fabrication of a packaging film based on PLA blends: The evolution of physical, mechanical, and rheological properties

The effect of PEO addition on the microstructure of PLA.Today, the use of biodegradable polymers has become widespread in a wide range of industries. This research scrutinized the physical, mechanical, and rheological properties of poly (lactic acid)/poly (ethylene oxide)/carbon nanotube (PLA/PEO/CNTs) blend nanocomposites, as a good candidate for usage in the packaging industry. PEO and CNTs were added at various concentrations to improve the flexibility, toughness, gas permeability, thermal stability, and mechanical properties of PLA via solution blending. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM), water contact angle (WCA), rheometric mechanical spectrometer (RMS) test, gas permeability, and tensile characterization were performed to characterize the properties of the prepared blends and nanocomposites. The experimental results revealed that the addition of 25?wt% PEO to the PLA matrix made a partially miscible blend with a droplet?matrix morphology. PEO at this concentration increased the elongation at break (from 2.2% to 18%) while reducing the modulus (from 25 to 6?MPa). Also, the experimental results indicated that the miscibility of PLA and PEO was enhanced by the addition of 1?wt% CNTs to the prepared blend, associated with diminished entropy of mixing in the LCST phase diagram. Theoretical calculations predicted that the CNTs would be localized in the PLA phase which increased the total crystallinity of the sample by 28%, considerably reducing the amount of gas permeation into the nanocomposite. In addition, the introduction of the CNTs to the blend increased the elongation at break and tensile strength by 13% compared to pure PLA and lowered the rate of thermal degradation effectively. Also, the final results showed that the COOH?CNTs located in the PEO phase caused a decline in the crystallinity and an increase in the gas permeability of the prepared nanocomposite.HighlightsImprovement of physical properties of PLA by blending with PEO and CNTs.A deep investigation on rheological behavior of the prepared nanocomposite.Increasing the crystallinity degree of PLA/PEO blend by adding CNTs.Improvement of the miscibility between PLA and PEO in the presence of CNTs.Controlling the CNTs localization by surface modification.

Publication date: 04/01/2024

Polymer Engineering and Science


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.