Development of High Temperature Resistant Stereocomplex PLA for Injection Moulding
In this study, the production of stereocomplex PLA formulations (sc-PLA) by compounding and subsequent injection moulding at different mould temperatures was investigated. Several selective nucleating agents were identified and compounded with different poly(L-lactide)/poly(D-lactide) (PLLA/PDLA) ratios on a co-rotating twin screw extruder. The effect of nucleating agents (NA) on the crystallisation behaviour of the compound was systematically investigated by DSC analysis. The crystallisation behaviour of NA-21 (aluminium complex of a phosphoric ester), also in combination with talc, under cooling rates of up to 70 K/min was analysed. The wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) results showed a complete stereocomplex (sc) crystal formation on all specimens containing NA-21 even at the highest cooling rates. The thermo-mechanical testing of sc-PLA shows a Young's modulus of approx. 3 GPa, yield stress of 30-40 MPa, elongation of 1%, and a heat deflection temperature (HDT-B) up to 180 °C. Processing sc-PLA exclusively via the processing route of compounding and injection moulding will open new areas of application for PLA at higher temperatures.