Ultrasonic welding of plasticized PLA films



Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a commercially available biobased material that has become an ideal material in packaging applications because of its low toxicity along with its environmentally friendly characteristics. Unfortunately, PLA is rigid and brittle. These characteristics impede its wide application. The flexibility of PLA can be improved by plasticization. In addition, welding polymer films is essential in the packaging production. Therefore, the weldability by means of ultrasonic welding of the neat and with polyethylene glycol plasticized PLA films was analyzed in this study. Moreover, the study examines the influence of the material composition on the processing window, that is, the range of welding parameters which could be used to weld films efficiently, and on the weld quality. This research showed that all examined films can be welded by ultrasonic welding. Furthermore, it was discovered that the addition of a plasticizer has a strong influence on the processing window and on the weld quality. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2015, 132, 41351.