Biodegradable Blends Based on Starch and Poly(Lactic Acid): Comparison of Different Strategies and Estimate of Compatibilization
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Finding plastic substitutes based on sustainability, especially for short-term packaging and disposable applications has aroused scientific interest for many years. Starch may be a substitute for petroleum based plastics but it shows severe limitations due to its water sensitivity and rather low mechanical properties. To overcome these weaknesses and to maintain the material biodegradability, one option is to blend plasticized starch with another biodegradable polymer. To improve both the compatibility between the main phases and the performance of the final blend, different compatibilization strategies are reported in literature. However, the relative efficiency of each strategy is not widely reported. This paper presents three different strategies: in situ (i) formation of urethane linkages; (ii) coupling with peroxide between starch and PLA, and (iiii) the addition of PLA-grafted amylose (A-g-PLA) which has been elaborated ex situ and carefully analyzed before blending. This study compares the effect of each compatibilization strategy by investigating mechanical and thermal properties of each blend. Compatibilizing behavior of the A-g-PLA is demonstrated, with a significant increase (up to 60%) in tensile strength of starch/PLA blend with no decrease in elongation at failure.
KeywordsBlend Compatibilization Graft copolymer Poly(lactic acid) Starch
This work was funded by Europol’Agro through a research program devoted to the development of packaging materials based on agricultural resources. The authors want to Thank Dr. Peter Torley and Dr. Peter Halley (University of Queensland—Australia) for their important contributions.
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