Effect of Starch and Plasticizer Types and Fiber Content on Properties of Polylactic Acid/Thermoplastic Starch Blend
Abstract:Polylactic acid (PLA) is the most commercially
available bio-based and biodegradable plastic at present. PLA has
been used in plastic related industries including single-used
containers, disposable and environmentally friendly packaging owing
to its renewability, compostability, biodegradability, and safety.
Although PLA demonstrates reasonably good optical, physical,
mechanical and barrier properties comparable to the existing
petroleum-based plastics, its brittleness and mold shrinkage as well as
its price are the points to be concerned for the production of rigid and
semi-rigid packaging. Blending PLA with other bio-based polymers
including thermoplastic starch (TPS) is an alternative not only to
achieve a complete bio-based plastic, but also to reduce the
brittleness, shrinkage during molding and production cost of the
PLA-based products. TPS is a material produced mainly from starch
which is cheap, renewable, biodegradable, compostable, and nontoxic.
It is commonly prepared by a plasticization of starch under
applying heat and shear force. Although glycerol has been reported as
one of the most plasticizers used for preparing TPS, its migration
caused the surface stickiness of the TPS products. In some cases,
mixed plasticizers or natural fibers have been applied to impede the
retrogradation of starch or reduce the migration of glycerol. The
introduction of fibers into TPS-based materials could reinforce the
polymer matrix as well. Therefore, the objective of the present
research is to study the effect of starch type (i.e. native starch and
phosphate starch), plasticizer type (i.e. glycerol and xylitol with a
weight ratio of glycerol to xylitol of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and
0:100) and fiber content (i.e. in the range of 1-25 %wt) on properties
of PLA/TPS blend and composite. PLA/TPS blends and composites
were prepared using a twin-screw extruder and then converted into
dumbbell-shaped specimens using an injection molding machine. The
PLA/TPS blends prepared by using phosphate starch showed higher
tensile strength and stiffness than the blends prepared by using native
one. In contrast, the blends from native starch exhibited higher
extensibility and heat distortion temperature (HDT) than those from
the modified starch. Increasing xylitol content resulted in enhanced
tensile strength, stiffness and water resistance, but decreased
extensibility and HDT of the PLA/TPS blend. Tensile properties and
hydrophobicity of the blend could be improved by incorporating
silane treated-jute fibers.
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Contact angle (Degree)
0 170 345 518 690 865
Absorption time (sec)
100:0 25:75 50:50 75:25 0:100
a (a) ab ab abc
d de cde
ab a (b)
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