Effect of the structural features of biobased linear polyester plasticizers on the crystallization of polylactides
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International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 214 : 128-139 (2022)
This work presents, for the first time, a detailed report on how the nucleation and crystallization of polylactide (PLLA) are affected by biobased aliphatic polyesters plasticizers. Three biobased polyesters were synthesized via solvent-free two-stage melt polycondensation of adipic acid (AdA) with three different biobased aliphatic diols and used as plasticizers for poly (L-lactic acid) (PLLA). The molecular structure of the synthesized polyesters was proved using H-1 NMR, C-13 NMR and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. PLLA/AdA-based blends containing 10 wt% of the polyester plasticizers were studied by tensile tests, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), wide-angle x-ray scattering (WAXS), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM). Adding the plasticizers to PLLA decreased T-g by up to 11 degrees C and significantly increased the elongation at break by about 8 times compared with neat PLLA. The addition of 10 wt% of any AdA-based plasticizer to PLLA increases the nucleation rate from the glassy state by around 50-110 % depending on the plasticizer. The overall crystallization rate from the glassy state was 2-3 times faster for the plasticized PLLAs than neat PLLA. These results are a consequence of the lower energy barrier for both nucleation and growth processes. The incorporation of AdA-based linear polyesters had an incremental impact on the crystal growth rate (or secondary nucleation) of PLLA spherulites from the melt and glassy states. In conclusion, the AdA-based aliphatic polyesters allowed to enhance PLLA crystallization rates and showed interesting potential for the formulation of fully biobased PLLA blends.