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Polymers 2018, 10(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10020139

PLA Melt Stabilization by High-Surface-Area Graphite and Carbon Black

1
Department of Chemistry and Biology, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy
2
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers)
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Abstract

Small amounts of carbon nanofillers, specifically high-surface-area graphite (HSAG) and more effectively carbon black (CB), are able to solve the well-known problem of degradation (molecular weight reduction) during melt processing, for the most relevant biodegradable polymer, namely poly(lactic acid), PLA. This behavior is shown by rheological measurements (melt viscosity during extrusion experiments and time sweep-complex viscosity) combined with gel permeation chromatography (GPC) experiments. PLA’s molecular weight, which is heavily reduced during melt extrusion of the neat polymer, can remain essentially unaltered by simple compounding with only 0.1 wt % of CB. At temperatures close to polymer melting by compounding with graphitic fillers, the observed stabilization of PLA melt could be rationalized by scavenging traces of water, which reduces hydrolysis of polyester bonds. Thermogravimetric analyses (TGA) indicate that the same carbon fillers, on the contrary, slightly destabilize PLA toward decomposition reactions, leading to the loss of volatile byproducts, which occur at temperatures higher than 300 °C, i.e., far from melt processing conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: poly(lactic acid); carbon black; graphite poly(lactic acid); carbon black; graphite
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D’Urso, L.; Acocella, M.R.; Guerra, G.; Iozzino, V.; De Santis, F.; Pantani, R. PLA Melt Stabilization by High-Surface-Area Graphite and Carbon Black. Polymers 2018, 10, 139.

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