Evaluation of biodegradability of poly(ε-caprolactone)/poly(ethylene terephthalate) blends

  • Emo Chiellini
  • Andrea Corti
  • Arianna Giovannini
  • Piero Narducci
  • Anna M. Paparella
  • Roberto Solaro


The results of an investigation aimed at evaluation of the biodegradability of blends of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) as the major component are reported. Specimens of the blends, as melt extruded films and/or powders, were submitted to degradation tests under different environmental conditions including full-scale composting, soil burial, bench-scale accelerated aerobic degradation, and exposure to axenic cultures and esterolytic enzymes. Indications have been gained that blending in the melt gives rise to insertion of PCL segments in the PET chain. Copolymers thus attained acted as macromolecular compatibilizers, allowing for a complete miscibility of PCL and PET. The biodegradation detected on the blend samples was, however, well below the values expected from chemical composition and behavior of individual homopolymers under the same environmental conditions. The presence of PET as the major component in PET/PCL blends apparently reduces the propensity of PCL to be degraded, at least in the investigated composition range. The degradation data collected under different environmental conditions indicate that the full-scale composting system is the most efficient among the tested degradation procedures.

Key words

Poly(ethylene terephthalate) poly(ε-caprolactone) blends biodegradation composting 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emo Chiellini
    • 1
  • Andrea Corti
    • 1
  • Arianna Giovannini
    • 2
  • Piero Narducci
    • 3
  • Anna M. Paparella
    • 1
  • Roberto Solaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Industrial ChemistryUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.M&G RicerchePozzilli (IS)Italy
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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