The improvement of the rate of crystallization and crystallinity of poly (l
-lactic acid) (PLLA) is one of the key performance elements for PLLA to perform better at the higher temperature than its heat deflection temperature (around 60 °C). The organic nucleating agent compounds are one of the interesting choice as they can offer the clarity of products. On the other hand, the nucleated PLLA can be prepared using a low molecular weight poly (d
-lactic acid) (PDLA). The aim of this work was to explore the effect of an unsaturated amide compound and PDLA as single and mixed nucleating agents used for PLLA. The crystallization rate and kinetics were investigated and compared for the synthetic unsaturated amide compound (N
′-ethylenebis (10-undecenamide) (EBU)) and commercial hydrazide compound (tetramethylenedicarboxylic dibenzoylhydrazide (TMC-306)). PLLA samples was prepared by melt-mixing with TMC or EBU incorporated with peroxide. The influence of different nucleating agents loading on thermal properties, crystallization behaviors, and rheological properties of PLLA were explored by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). The results showed that the addition of EBU or TMC 0.5 phr could pronouncedly increase the crystallinity of PLLA from 3.80% to 24.84% and 8.61%, respectively. The crystallization peak appeared at 112.3 °C in the cooling scan at the rate 7 °C/min when addition EBU and peroxide into PLLA. This indicated that EBU acted as an efficient nucleating agent for PLLA. In isothermal crystallization run at 110 °C, it was found that the overall crystallization rate of nucleated PLLA with TMC or EBU was much faster than neat PLLA. The crystallization half-time indicated that the existence of TMC or EBU could slightly decrease to 2.90 and 1.96 min, respectively compared to neat PLLA (4.60 min). Finally, a low molecular weight PDLA with different contents between 3 and 7 wt % was added in PLLA with EBU and peroxide to investigate the effect of mixed nucleating agents. The crystallization rate of the incorporation of PDLA/EBU/peroxide into PLLA was discussed with the proposed crystallization mechanism. The results revealed the stereocomplex temperature peak at 207 °C as well as normal melting temperature of PLLA. The kinetics of growth crystallization, the crystallization half-time of PLLA at 110 °C was reduced from 4.60 min to 1.96 min (when adding EBU alone) and to 2.62 min (when using mixed PDLA and EBU).
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