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Toughening of polylactide by melt blending with linear low-density polyethylene

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Abstract

Melt blending of polylactide and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) was performed in an effort to toughen polylactide. In addition, two model polylactide-polyethylene (PLLA-PE) block copolymers were investigated as compatibilizers. The LLDPE particle size and the impact resistance of binary and ternary blends were measured to determine the extent of compatibilization. For the amorphous polylactide (PLA), toughening was achieved only when a PLLA-PE block copolymer was used as a compatibilizer. For the semicrystalline polylactide (PLLA), toughening was achieved in the absence of block copolymer. To decrease the variability in the impact resistance of the PLLA/LLDPE binary blend, as little as 0.5 wt % of a PLLA–;PE block copolymer was effective. The differences that were seen between the PLA and PLLA binary blends were investigated with adhesion testing. The semicrystalline PLLA did show significantly better adhesion to the LLDPE. We propose that tacticty effects on the entanglement molecular weight or miscibility of polylactide allow for the improved adhesion between the PLLA and LLDPE. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 89: 3757–3768, 2003

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