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Keywords:

  • polyurethanes;
  • polyesters;
  • biodegradation;
  • mechanical properties;
  • crosslinked

Abstract

Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a biodegradable aliphatic polyester, but its brittleness makes it unsuitable for many packaging and appliance applications. The goal of the work reported was to create novel poly(ester urethane)s that incorporate biodegradable poly(lactic acid) diols (PLA-OHs) and good mechanical properties of increased molecular weight via crosslinked network formation for engineering plastics applications. Three kinds of polyols (PLA-OHs, PLA-OHs/poly(tetramethylene ether) glycol or PLA-OHs/poly(butylene adipate) glycol (PBA)) and two kinds of diisocyanates (4,4-diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) or toluene 2,4-diisocyanate (TDI)) were chosen for the soft and hard segments to compare their mechanical properties. In addition, 1,4-butanediol and trimethylolpropane were each used as chain extender agents. Results showed the PLA/PBA-polyurethanes (PLA/PBA-PUs) of the MDI series and the PLA/PBA-PUs of the TDI series had improved thermal stability and enhanced mechanical properties. Degradation behavior showed the PLA-based polyurethanes could be degraded in phosphate-buffered saline solution and enzyme solution. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry