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Keywords:

  • polylactide;
  • stereocomplex;
  • stereoblock;
  • bio-based polymer;
  • neo-PLA

Abstract

Polymeric materials prepared from renewable natural resources are now being accepted as “bio-based polymers”, because they are superior to the conventional petroleum-based polymers in reducing the emission of carbon dioxide. Among them, poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) prepared by fermentation and polymerization is paid an immediate attention. Although PLLA exhibits a broad range of physico-chemical properties, its thermal and mechanical properties are somewhat poorer for use as ordinary structural materials. For improving these inferior properties, a stereocomplex form consisting of PLLA and its enantiomer poly(D-lactide) (PDLA) has high potential because of showing high melting nature (230 °C). It can be formed by simple polymer blend of PLLA and PDLA or more easily with stereoblock polylactides (sb-PLA) which are PLLA/PDLA block copolymers. These novel PLA polymers, named “Neo-PLA”, can provide a wide range of properties that have never be attained with single PLLA. Neo-PLA retains sustainability or bio-based nature, because both monomers L- and D-lactic acids are manufactured from starch by fermentation. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry