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Keywords:

  • polymer-matrix composites (PMCs);
  • Raman spectroscopy;
  • TEM;
  • SEM;
  • DSC;
  • solvent casting

Abstract

Nanocomposite thin films of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) were produced incorporating small amounts (0.2 to 1 wt%) of graphene oxide (GO) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP). The films were prepared by solvent-casting. Mechanical properties were evaluated for plasticized (by residual solvent) and unplasticized films. Plasticized nanocomposite films presented yield strength and Young's modulus about 100% higher than those of pristine PLA. For unplasticized films improvements in tensile strength and Young's modulus were about 15 and 85%, respectively. For both film types, a maximum in mechanical performance was identified for about 0.4 wt% loadings of the two filler materials tested. Permeabilities towards oxygen and nitrogen decreased, respectively, three- and fourfold in films loaded with both GO or GNP. The glass transition temperature showed maximum increases, in relation to unloaded PLA films, of 5 °C for 0.4 wt% GO and 7 °C for 0.4 wt% GNP, coinciding with the observed maxima in mechanical properties. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry