Compatibilization of Poly(Lactic Acid) (PLA) and bio-based ethylene-propylene-diene-rubber (EPDM) via reactive extrusion with different coagents
Much effort has been made to enhance the toughness of poly (lactic acid) (PLA) to broaden its possible range of usage in technical applications. In this work, the compatibility of PLA with a partly bio-based ethylene-propylene-diene-rubber (EPDM) through reactive extrusion was investigated. The concentration of EPDM in the PLA matrix was in the range of up to 20%. The reactive extrusion was carried out in a conventional twin-screw extruder. Contact angle measurements were performed to calculate the interfacial tension and thus the compatibility between the phases. The thermal and mechanical properties as well as the phase morphology of the blends were characterized. A copolymer of poly (ethylene-co-methyl acrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate) (EMAGMA) was used as compatibilizer, which leads to a significant reduction in the particle size of the dispersed rubber phase when compared with the blends without this copolymer. The use of EMAGMA combined with soybean oil (SBO) and a radical initiator enhances the elongation at break of the compound. The results indicate that the reduction of the particle size of the dispersed phase obtained with the compatibilizer alone is not sufficient to improve the mechanical properties of the blend system. The induced radical reactions also influenced the mechanical properties of the blend significantly.
Vernaez Hernandez, Oscar Eduardo
Department of Research and Development in Products and Applications, Neste Corporation, PBO 310, FI-06101 Porvoo, Finland