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Keywords:

  • thermoplastics starch;
  • poly(lactic acid);
  • blends;
  • sorbitol;
  • glycerol

Abstract

This article investigates the structure and properties of thermoplastic starch/PLA blends where the TPS phase is plasticized by sorbitol, glycerol, and glycerol/sorbitol mixtures. The blends were prepared using a twin-screw extruder where starch gelatinization, water removal, and dispersion of TPS into a PLA matrix were carried out sequentially. The plasticizers were added to starch in the first stage of the extruder to allow complete starch gelatinization. The PLA was added at mid-extruder and thoroughly mixed with the TPS. The plasticizer concentration was varied from 30 to 42% and the TPS content was varied from 27 to 60% on a weight basis. In all investigated blends, the PLA formed the continuous phase and the TPS was the dispersed phase. The viscosity, blend morphology, tensile mechanical properties as well as the thermal properties of the materials were measured. It was found that the glycerol/sorbitol ratio has an important effect on the blend properties. Finer blend morphologies, higher tensile strength and modulus but lower crystallization rate were found for the sorbitol plasticized blends. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011