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Polymers 2018, 10(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10010095

Toughening of Poly(lactic acid) and Thermoplastic Cassava Starch Reactive Blends Using Graphene Nanoplatelets

1
School of Packaging, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2
Instituto Sabato, UNSAM-CNEA, San Martin, Buenos Aires 1650, Argentina
3
Instituto de Materiales de Misiones (IMAM), CONICET-UNaM, Posadas, Misiones 3300, Argentina
4
Department of Food Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, İzmir University of Economics, İzmir 35330, Turkey
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers)
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Abstract

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) was reactively blended with thermoplastic cassava starch (TPCS) and functionalized with commercial graphene (GRH) nanoplatelets in a twin-screw extruder, and films were produced by cast-film extrusion. Reactive compatibilization between PLA and TPCS phases was reached by introducing maleic anhydride and a peroxide radical during the reactive blending extrusion process. Films with improved elongation at break and toughness for neat PLA and PLA-g-TPCS reactive blends were obtained by an addition of GRH nanoplatelets. Toughness of the PLA-g-TPCS-GRH was improved by ~900% and ~500% when compared to neat PLA and PLA-g-TPCS, respectively. Crack bridging was established as the primary mechanism responsible for the improvement in the mechanical properties of PLA and PLA-g-TPCS in the presence of the nanofiller due to the high aspect ratio of GRH. Scanning electron microscopy images showed a non-uniform distribution of GRH nanoplatelets in the matrix. Transmittance of the reactive blend films decreased due to the TPCS phase. Values obtained for the reactive blends showed ~20% transmittance. PLA-GRH and PLA-g-TPCS-GRH showed a reduction of the oxygen permeability coefficient with respect to PLA of around 35% and 50%, respectively. Thermal properties, molecular structure, surface roughness, XRD pattern, electrical resistivity, and color of the films were also evaluated. Biobased and compostable reactive blend films of PLA-g-TPCS compounded with GRH nanoplatelets could be suitable for food packaging and agricultural applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: PLA; reactive blending; biobased films; graphene; nanoreinforcement PLA; reactive blending; biobased films; graphene; nanoreinforcement
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bher, A.; Uysal Unalan, I.; Auras, R.; Rubino, M.; Schvezov, C.E. Toughening of Poly(lactic acid) and Thermoplastic Cassava Starch Reactive Blends Using Graphene Nanoplatelets. Polymers 2018, 10, 95.

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