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Mechanical properties of poly(ε-caprolactone) and poly(lactic acid) blends

Authors

  • C. L. Simões,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Polymers and Composites (IPC), Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
    2. Innovation in Polymer Engineering (PIEP), Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
    • Institute for Polymers and Composites (IPC), Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
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  • J. C. Viana,

    1. Institute for Polymers and Composites (IPC), Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
    2. Innovation in Polymer Engineering (PIEP), Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
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  • A. M. Cunha

    1. Institute for Polymers and Composites (IPC), Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
    2. Innovation in Polymer Engineering (PIEP), Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
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Abstract

The aim of this work was to better understand the performance of binary blends of biodegradable aliphatic polyesters to overcome some limitations of the pure polymers (e.g., brittleness, low stiffness, and low toughness). Binary blends of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(lactic acid) (PLA) were prepared by melt blending (in a twin-screw extruder) followed by injection molding. The compositions ranged from pure biodegradable polymers to 25 wt % increments. Morphological characterization was performed with scanning electron microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. The initial modulus, stress and strain at yield, strain at break, and impact toughness of the biodegradable polymer blends were investigated. The properties were described by models assuming different interfacial behaviors (e.g., good adhesion and no adhesion between the dissimilar materials). The results indicated that PCL behaved as a polymeric plasticizer to PLA and improved the flexibility and ductility of the blends, giving the blends higher impact toughness. The strain at break was effectively improved by the addition of PCL to PLA, and this was followed by a decrease in the stress at break. The two biodegradable polymers were proved to be immiscible but nevertheless showed some degree of adhesion between the two phases. This was also quantified by the mechanical property prediction models, which, in conjunction with material property characterization, allowed unambiguous detection of the interfacial behavior of the polymer blends. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009

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