Effect of a Hybrid Zinc Stearate-Silver System on the Properties of Polylactide and Its Abiotic and the Biotic Degradation and Antimicrobial Activity Thereof

Abstract

This work investigates the degradation and properties of a thermoplastically prepared composite comprising a polylactide/hybrid zinc stearate-silver system. The influence of the zinc stearate-silver system on the properties of the composite is investigated by electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and tensile tests. Furthermore, the antimicrobial activities of the systems are examined. The degradation behaviour of the composites is studied in both abiotic and biotic (composting) environments at an elevated temperature of 58 °C. The results reveal good dispersion of the additive in the PLA matrix, a stabilizing effect exerted by the same on the polylactide matrix during processing, and slight reduction in glass transition temperature. The zinc stearate-silver component also reduces brittleness and extends elongation of the composite. Abiotic hydrolysis is not significantly affected, which is in contrast with pure PLA, although mineralization during the early stage of biodegradation increases noticeably. The composite exhibits antimicrobial activity, even at the lowest dosage of the zinc stearate/silver component (1 wt%). Moreover, Ag and Zn contents were found to be present in the composite during abiotic hydrolysis, which was demonstrated by minimal diffusion of Ag ions from the matrix and very extensive washing of compounds that contained Zn.

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Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by the Czech Science Foundation (No. 17-16928Y) and by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic within the NPU I programme (No. LO1504).

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Correspondence to Pavel Kucharczyk.

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Jandíková, G., Stoplova, P., Di Martino, A. et al. Effect of a Hybrid Zinc Stearate-Silver System on the Properties of Polylactide and Its Abiotic and the Biotic Degradation and Antimicrobial Activity Thereof. Chin J Polym Sci 36, 925–933 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10118-018-2120-0

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Keywords

  • Polylactide
  • Composite
  • Biodegradation
  • Zinc stearate
  • Silver
  • Antimicrobial