Poly(lactic acid)/organoclay nanocomposites: Thermal, rheological properties and foam processing

Authors

  • Yingwei Di,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials (IMCB-CNR), Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
    • Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials (IMCB-CNR), Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
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  • Salvatore Iannace,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials (IMCB-CNR), Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
    • Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials (IMCB-CNR), Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
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  • Ernesto Di Maio,

    1. Department of Materials and Production Engineering, University of Napoli “Frederico II,” Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
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  • Luigi Nicolais

    1. Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials (IMCB-CNR), Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
    2. Department of Materials and Production Engineering, University of Napoli “Frederico II,” Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125, Napoli, Italy
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Abstract

In this study, polymer nanocomposites based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and organically modified layered silicates (organoclay) were prepared by melt mixing in an internal mixer. The exfoliation of organoclay could be attributed to the interaction between the organoclay and PLA molecules and shearing force during mixing. The exfoliated organoclay layers acted as nucleating agents at low content and as the organoclay content increased they became physical hindrance to the chain mobility of PLA. The thermal dynamic mechanical moduli of nanocomposites were also improved by the exfoliation of organoclay; however, the improvement was reduced at high organoclay content. The dynamic rheological studies show that the nanocomposites have higher viscosity and more pronounced elastic properties than pure PLA. Both storage and loss moduli increased with silicate loading at all frequencies and showed nonterminal behavior at low frequencies. The nanocomposites and PLA were then foamed by using the mixture of CO2 and N2 as blowing agent in a batch foaming process. Compared with PLA foam, the nanocomposite foams exhibited reduced cell size and increased cell density at very low organoclay content. With the increase of organoclay content, the cell size was decreased and both cell density and foam density were increased. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 43: 689–698, 2005

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