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Polymers 2017, 9(1), 22;

Investigation of Thermal and Thermomechanical Properties of Biodegradable PLA/PBSA Composites Processed via Supercritical Fluid-Assisted Foam Injection Molding

Department of Automotive Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29607, USA
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
Polymer Engineering Center, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Polymer Institute, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alexander Böker and Frank Wiesbrock
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young Talents in Polymer Science)
PDF [3097 KB, uploaded 9 January 2017]


Bio-based polymer foams have been gaining immense attention in recent years due to their positive contribution towards reducing the global carbon footprint, lightweighting, and enhancing sustainability. Currently, polylactic acid (PLA) remains the most abundant commercially consumed biopolymer, but suffers from major drawbacks such as slow crystallization rate and poor melt processability. However, blending of PLA with a secondary polymer would enhance the crystallization rate and the thermal properties based on their compatibility. This study investigates the physical and compatibilized blends of PLA/poly (butylene succinate-co-adipate) (PBSA) processed via supercritical fluid-assisted (ScF) injection molding technology using nitrogen (N2) as a facile physical blowing agent. Furthermore, this study aims at understanding the effect of blending and ScF foaming of PLA/PBSA on crystallinity, melting, and viscoelastic behavior. Results show that compatibilization, upon addition of triphenyl phosphite (TPP), led to an increase in molecular weight and a shift in melting temperature. Additionally, the glass transition temperature (Tg) obtained from the tanδ curve was observed to be in agreement with the Tg value predicted by the Gordon–Taylor equation, further confirming the compatibility of PLA and PBSA. The compatibilization of ScF-foamed PLA–PBSA was found to have an increased crystallinity and storage modulus compared to their physically foamed counterparts. View Full-Text
Keywords: polylactide; poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate); compatibilization; crystallization; foaming polylactide; poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate); compatibilization; crystallization; foaming

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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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Pradeep, S.A.; Kharbas, H.; Turng, L.-S.; Avalos, A.; Lawrence, J.G.; Pilla, S. Investigation of Thermal and Thermomechanical Properties of Biodegradable PLA/PBSA Composites Processed via Supercritical Fluid-Assisted Foam Injection Molding. Polymers 2017, 9, 22.

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