One-Step Extrusion to Minimize Thermal Decomposition for Processing PLA-Based Composites
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One-step extrusion techniques (combining compounding and product extrusion together) have been developed to minimize the decomposition of polyesters during thermal processing. Such treatment is particularly meaningful for the application of biodegradable polyester composites reinforced with the fillers containing moisture or hydroxyl groups, such as cellulose and starch etc. Poly (lactic acid)/starch composites was used as a model system in this work. Two kinds of one-step extrusion systems have been developed through (1) a twin screw extruder connecting with a single extruder, and (2) a twin screw extruder with a single screw zone respectively. The comparison between the one-step and two-step extrusions has been carried out based on their microstructures and performances via characterizations of molecular weight and molecular weight distribution, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, as well as tensile and drop impact testing. The results demonstrated that mechanical properties of samples were enhanced with the one-step extrusion preparation, comparing with the two-step processing, particularly in toughness and tensile strength, mainly because the one-step methods reduced the decomposition of polyesters during the thermal processing. It is also expected that the one-step extrusions technology will decrease the processing cost by reducing the amount of utilized energy, and can be used for the processing of other moisture sensitive polyesters.
KeywordsExtrusion Blending and compositing Thermal decomposition PLA Molecular weight
All authors would like to acknowledge Liu F, Shao Z, Shi K and Lin X for their carrying out initial experimental work. The authors from SCUT, China, would like to acknowledge research fund National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFD0400700), NSFC (31571789) and 111 Project (B17018). Saud Khalid would like to thank the Chinese Government Scholarship and School of Food Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, for providing opportunity and support during his stay in China.
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