This work aimed to prepare biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers based on NR/LLDPE/TPS ternary simple blends to achieve some exclusive properties, i.e., good biodegradability in terms of water absorption and weight loss after burial, together with reasonable mechanical and thermal properties. A comparative study on biodegradability and other related properties of NR/LLDPE binary and NR/LLDPE/TPS ternary blends was performed. It was found that increasing the TPS proportion decreased storage modulus and complex viscosity. In addition, the size of dispersed TPS domains in the NR/LLDPE co-continuous matrix increased with TPS proportion, while the mechanical properties in terms of 100% moduli, tensile strength, elongation at break, and hardness decreased. This might be attributed to decreased interfacial adhesion with increasing size of TPS domains. Furthermore, increasing the TPS loading in the blend reduced the temperatures for 5 or 50% mass loss (T5 or T50) and the degradation temperature (Td). However, the biodegradability improved, in terms of increased water absorption and weight loss after burial in soil, with the loading level of TPS.
Thermoplastic elastomer Biodegradability Natural rubber Thermoplastic starch Linear low density polyethylene
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The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support by the Higher Education Research Promotion and National Research University Project of Thailand, Office of the Higher Education Commission, Prince of Songkla University, Contract no SIT570565S. The author also would like to acknowledge Dr. Seppo Karilla who contributed to proof this manuscript.