Polylactide (PLA) is known as one of the most promising biopolymers as it is derived from renewable feedstock and can be biodegraded. During the last two decades, it moved more and more into the focus of scientific research and industrial use. It is even considered as a suitable replacement for standard petroleum-based polymers, such as polystyrene (PS), which can be found in a wide range of applications—amongst others in foams for packaging and insulation applications—but cause strong environmental issues. PLA has comparable mechanical properties to PS. However, the lack of melt strength is often referred to as a drawback for most foaming processes. One way to overcome this issue is the incorporation of chemical modifiers which can induce chain extension, branching, or cross-linking. As such, a wide variety of substances were studied in the literature. This work should give an overview of the most commonly used chemical modifiers and their effects on rheological, thermal, and foaming behavior. Therefore, this review article summarizes the research conducted on neat and chemically modified PLA foamed with the conventional foaming methods (i.e., batch foaming, foam extrusion, foam injection molding, and bead foaming).
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