Properties and phase structure of melt-processed PLA/PMMA blends
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This study examines the rheological, mechanical and thermal behavior of Poly(lactic acid)/Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PLA/PMMA) blends and takes a look at the phase structure evolution during their melt processing. Semi-crystalline or amorphous PLA grades were combined with PMMA of different molecular weight to prepare the blends. The rheological properties and phase structure was first assessed using small-amplitude oscillatory shear experiments. The blends were injection molded into bars and characterized in terms of their tensile properties and of their dynamic mechanical behavior. Differential scanning calorimetry was also used to study the miscibility and crystallization behavior of prepared blends. Tensile properties of the blends nearly followed a linear mixing rule with no detrimental effect that could have been associated with an uncompatibilized interface. However, dynamic mechanical analysis and calorimetric experiments showed that some phase separation was present in the molded parts. Nevertheless, a single Tg was found if sufficient time was given in quiescent conditions to achieve miscibility. The Gordon-Taylor equation was used to assess the polymer interactions, suggesting that miscibility is the thermodynamically stable state. The ability of PLA to crystallize was strongly restricted by the presence of PMMA and little or no crystallinity development was possible in the blends with more than 30% of PMMA. Results showed an interesting potential of these blends from an application point of view, whether they are phase separated or not.
KeywordsPolylactic acid Polymethyl methacrylate Miscibility Phase structure
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial contribution of the Fond de recherche nature et technologie (FRQNT) of the province of Québec, Canada.
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