To explore a potential method for improving the toughness of a polylactide (PLA), we used a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomer with a high strength and toughness and biocompatibility to prepare PLA/TPU blends suitable for a wide range of applications of PLA as general-purpose plastics. The structure and properties of the PLA/TPU blends were studied in terms of the mechanical and morphological properties. The results indicate that an obvious yield and neck formation was observed for the PLA/TPU blends; this indicated the transition of PLA from brittle fracture to ductile fracture. The elongation at break and notched impact strength for the PLA/20 wt %TPU blend reached 350% and 25 KJ/m2, respectively, without an obvious drop in the tensile strength. The blends were partially miscible systems because of the hydrogen bonding between the molecules of PLA and TPU. Spherical particles of TPU dispersed homogeneously in the PLA matrix, and the fracture surface presented much roughness. With increasing TPU content, the blends exhibited increasing tough failure. The J-integral value of the PLA/TPU blend was much higher than that of the neat PLA; this indicated that the toughened blends had increasing crack initiation resistance and crack propagation resistance. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011
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