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      Evaluation of Properties and Biodeterioration Potential of Polyethylene and Aliphatic Polyester Blends


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          Blends of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and biodegradable polymers – polylactic acid, PLA, poly(∊-caprolactone), PCL and Mater-Bi® (thermoplastic starch (TPS) with PLA or PCL) – were prepared in a co-rotating twin-screw extruder, together with polyethylene modified with maleic anhydride (PE-g-MA) used as compatibiliser. The mechanical and rheological properties, morphology and potential for biodeterioration of polymeric materials were evaluated. Blends with PLA showed a reduced elongation at break but an increased Young's modulus while the addition of PCL led to materials with a greater elongation at break and a lower Young modulus. The rheological results evidenced that HPDE and the blend with the highest TPS level exhibited the highest viscosity. The microbial growth test carried out to evaluate the potential for biodeterioration of the blends, using a pure culture of Pseudomonas fluorescens, indicated that HDPE/PCL had a lower resistance to bacterial attack than the blend of HDPE/PLA. This was verified by a higher cell number on its surface after 10 weeks of incubation. The addition of 30% starch to the HDPE/PLA blend enhanced its biodeterioration potential, the same was not observed in the case of the HDPE/PCL blend containing just 18% starch.

          Most cited references35

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          Biodegradable polymers for the environment.

          Biodegradable polymers are designed to degrade upon disposal by the action of living organisms. Extraordinary progress has been made in the development of practical processes and products from polymers such as starch, cellulose, and lactic acid. The need to create alternative biodegradable water-soluble polymers for down-the-drain products such as detergents and cosmetics has taken on increasing importance. Consumers have, however, thus far attached little or no added value to the property of biodegradability, forcing industry to compete head-to-head on a cost-performance basis with existing familiar products. In addition, no suitable infrastructure for the disposal of biodegradable materials exists as yet.
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            Biodegradable polymers and their layered silicate nanocomposites: In greening the 21st century materials world

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              Study of biodegradable polylactide/poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) blends.

              Both polylactide (PLA) and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) are biodegradable polymers. They are thermoplastics which can be processed using most conventional polymer processing methods. PLA is high in strength and modulus (63 MPa and 3.4 GPa, respectively) but brittle (strain at break 3.8%) while PBAT is flexible and tough (strain at break approximately 710%). In view of their complementary properties, blending PLA with PBAT becomes a natural choice to improve PLA properties without compromising its biodegradability. In this study, PLA and PBAT were melt blended using a twin screw extruder. Melt elasticity and viscosity of the blends increased with the concentration of PBAT. Crystallization of the PLA component, phase morphology of the blend, mechanical properties, and toughening mechanism were investigated. The blend comprised an immiscible, two-phase system with the PBAT evenly dispersed in the form of approximately 300 nm domains within the PLA matrix. The PBAT component accelerated the crystallization rate of PLA but had little effect on its final degree of crystallinity. With the increase in PBAT content (5-20 wt %), the blend showed decreased tensile strength and modulus; however, elongation and toughness were dramatically increased. With the addition of PBAT, the failure mode changed from brittle fracture of the neat PLA to ductile fracture of the blend as demonstrated by tensile test and scanning electron microcopy (SEM) micrographs. Debonding between the PLA and PBAT domains induced large plastic deformation in PLA matrix ligaments.

                Author and article information

                International Polymer Processing
                Carl Hanser Verlag
                : 22
                : 5
                : 512-518
                1 Instituto de Polímeros e Compósitos, University of Minho, Guimarães, Portugal
                2 Centro de Química, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, Braga, Portugal
                3 Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
                Author notes
                Mail address: Ana V. Machado, Instituto de Polímeros e Compósitos, University of Minho, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal. E-mail: avm@ 123456dep.uminho.pt
                © 2007, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich
                : 30 April 2007
                : 25 July 2007
                Page count
                References: 37, Pages: 7
                Self URI (journal page): http://www.hanser-elibrary.com/loi/ipp
                Invited Papers

                Polymer science,Materials technology,Materials characterization,General engineering,Polymer chemistry


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