Uncompatibilized PBAT/PLA Blends
Manufacturability, Miscibility and Properties
Polymer blends of poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) and polylactide (PLA) have been drawn attention due to the application potential as packaging or agricultural films. This study aims to determine the manufacturability, miscibility and mechanical properties of uncompatibilized PBAT/PLA blends prepared using different techniques. First, PBAT and PLA are melt-blended in a wide range of ratios from 90/10 to 10/90. The compounds are then processed into pressed panels, flat films and blown films. Finally, the thermal, morphological, rheological and mechanical properties of these blends are investigated. PBAT/PLA blends have a small difference of solubility parameters, predicting theoretically good miscibility. However, they show two almost unchanged glass transition temperatures in the DSC, phase separation in SEM and two relaxation mechanisms in the Cole-Cole plot. The phase morphology varies depending on both the blend ratios and the preparation techniques. Tensile tests indicate that with increasing PLA content the elongation at break decreases. A good correlation between the elongation at break and the tear propagation resistance is found. Furthermore, the trouser tear method is proven to be more applicable to differentiate highly extensible blown films compared with the Elmendorf tear method.