Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Physical Properties and Fiber Morphology of Poly(lactic acid) Obtained from Continuous Two-Step Melt Spinning



Fibers of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) produced by two-step melt-spinning are studied. The PLA resin used contains a 98:02 ratio of l:d stereochemical centers. A range of processing conditions is explored. The cold-draw ratio is varied from 1 to 8 under conditions of constant heating. In addition, three draw ratios are studied at three different heating rates. The thermal, mechanical, and morphological properties of the resultant fibers are determined. Properties can be widely manipulated through a combination of draw ratio and draw temperature. A maximum tensile strength and modulus of 0.38 GPa and 3.2 GPa, respectively, are obtainable. Using atomic force microscopy, the fiber morphology is found to be highly fibrillar; microfibril diameters are roughly 40 nm in diameter. Very high draw ratios cause the fiber to turn from shiny and translucent to dull and white; this transition is attributed to surface crazing. Significant molecular weight loss is observed upon processing (weight-average molecular weights drops between 27% and 43%).

Poly(lactic acid) polylactide fibers melt spinning, morphology 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA

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