Polylactic acid (PLA): Research, development and industrialization

Authors

  • Xuan Pang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China
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  • Xiuli Zhuang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China
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  • Zhaohui Tang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China
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  • Professor Xuesi Chen

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China
    • Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China, Fax: +86-431-85262112
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Abstract

Polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable, aliphatic polyester derived from lactic acid. It has similar mechanical properties to polyethylene terephthalate, but has a significantly lower maximum continuous use temperature. PLA products can be recycled after use either by remelting and processing the material a second time or by hydrolyzing to lactic acid, the basic chemical. In this review, the technologies for polymerization of the lactic acid and the comparison of physical, thermal and mechanical properties, biodegradability, and biocompatibility of the PLA and copolymers with other similar polymers are described.

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