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Molecules 2012, 17(10), 11729-11747; doi:10.3390/molecules171011729
Article

Mechanical, Thermal and Morphological Properties of Poly(lactic acid)/Epoxidized Palm Olein Blend

1,* , 1,* , 1
,
2
 and
3
1 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University Putra Malaysia, UPM Serdang, Selangor 43400, Malaysia 2 Chemistry Department, Center for Defence Foundation Studies, National Defence University of Malaysia, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 3 Advanced Oleochemical Technology Division, Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 43650 Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 June 2012 / Revised: 1 October 2012 / Accepted: 5 October 2012 / Published: 8 October 2012
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Abstract

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is known to be a useful material in substituting the conventional petroleum-based polymer used in packaging, due to its biodegradability and high mechanical strength. Despite the excellent properties of PLA, low flexibility has limited the application of this material. Thus, epoxidized palm olein (EPO) was incorporated into PLA at different loadings (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 wt%) through the melt blending technique and the product was characterized. The addition of EPO resulted in a decrease in glass transition temperature and an increase of elongation-at-break, which indicates an increase in the PLA chain mobility. PLA/EPO blends also exhibited higher thermal stability than neat PLA. Further, the PLA/1 wt% EPO blend showed enhancement in the tensile, flexural and impact properties. This is due to improved interaction in the blend producing good compatible morphologies, which can be revealed by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis. Therefore, PLA can be efficiently plasticized by EPO and the feasibility of its use as flexible film for food packaging should be considered.
Keywords: biodegradable polymer; plasticizer; epoxidized palm oil; melt blending biodegradable polymer; plasticizer; epoxidized palm oil; melt blending
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Silverajah, V.S.G.; Ibrahim, N.A.; Zainuddin, N.; Yunus, W.M.Z.W.; Hassan, H.A. Mechanical, Thermal and Morphological Properties of Poly(lactic acid)/Epoxidized Palm Olein Blend. Molecules 2012, 17, 11729-11747.

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