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Keywords:

  • PLA;
  • starch;
  • morphology;
  • compatibilization;
  • biocompostable

Abstract

Poly(lactic acid)/poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate)/starch (PLA/EVA/starch) ternary blends were prepared by multi-step melt processing (reactive extrusion) in the presence of maleic anhydride (MA), benzoyl peroxide and glycerol. The effects of MA and glycerol concentration on the morphology and properties of the PLA/EVA/starch blends were studied using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, the Molau experiment, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis and differential scanning calorimetry etc. The plasticization and compatibilization provided a synergistic effect to these blends accompanied by a significant reduction in starch particle size and an increase in interfacial adhesion. Starch was finely dispersed in the ternary blends with a dimension of 0.5 − 2 µm. Furthermore, EVA-coated starch or a starch-in-EVA type of morphology was observed for the reactively compatibilized PLA/EVA/starch blends. The EVA with starch gradually changed into a co-continuous phase with increasing MA concentration. Consequently, the toughness of the blends was improved. Since property stability of starch is an issue, the tensile properties of these blends were measured after different storage times and the blends showed good property stability. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry