Effect of Orientation on the Morphology and Mechanical Properties of PLA/Starch Composite Filaments
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Polylactic acid (PLA)/starch fibers were produced by twin screw extrusion of PLA with granular or gelatinized starch/glycerol followed by drawing through a set of winders with an intermediate oven. At 30% starch, fibers drawn 2–5x were highly flexible (elongation 20–100%) while undrawn filaments were brittle (elongation 2–9%). Tensile strength and moduli increased with increasing draw ratio but decreased with increasing starch content. Mechanical properties were better for composites made with gelatinized starch/glycerol than granular starch. In conclusion, orientation greatly increases the flexibility of PLA/starch composites and this may be useful not only in fibers but also possibly in molded articles. Other advantages of starch addition could include fiber softness without added plasticizer, moisture/odor absorbency and as a carrier for active compounds.
KeywordsStarch Polylactic acid Fibers Extrusion
The authors would like to thank Brian Jasberg, Gary Grose, Kathy Hornback, Elizabeth Krietemeyer, Kelly Utt, Ashley Maness and Dr. Arthur Thompson for assistance with extrusion and SEM.
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