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Synthesis and characterization of PLA nanocomposites containing nanosilica modified with different organosilanes I. Effect of the organosilanes on the properties of nanocomposites: Macromolecular, morphological, and rheologic characterization



Polylactide nanocomposites containing different loadings of nanosilica were prepared by employing bulk ring opening polymerization from lactide. Nanosilica was used as such and after surface treatment with different amounts of two distinct silanes. The effects on the properties of the material were evaluated comparing the samples containing organosilane-modified nanosilica with poly(lactic acid) (PLA) containing unmodified nanosilica. A standard linear PLA and an industrial “film grade” PLA (PLA Natureworks 4032D) were used as reference. Pure silica tends to decrease the molecular weight of the material, deactivating the catalytic system but when silanes are present on the surface, molecular weights are similar to the ones of standard and industrial PLA. Transmission electron microscopy analysis shows that silanes improve the dispersion of the mineral, while rheologic curves suggest that when silanes are present melt viscosity increases markedly at zero shear and decreases faster as the shear rate increases. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013