Author(s): Pilla S, Kim SG, Auer GK, Gong S, Park CB. Microcellular extrusion foaming of poly(lactide)/poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) blends. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2010 Jan 30;30(2):255-262. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Oct 30. PMID 30011615
Journal: Materials Science & Engineering. C, Materials For Biological Applications, Volume 30, Issue 2, Jan 2010
Foamed poly(lactide) (PLA)/poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) blends were processed via the microcellular extrusion process using CO2 as a blowing agent. Talc has been added to promote heterogeneous nucleation. Two types of PLA/PBAT blend systems were investigated: Ecovio, which is a commercially available compatibilized PLA/PBAT blend; and a non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT blend at the same PLA/PBAT ratio (i.e., 45:55 by weight percent). Six different formulations were investigated: pure PLA, PLA-talc, Ecovio, Ecovio-talc, non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT blend, and non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT-talc. The effects of various processing parameters such as die temperature, talc and compatibilization on various foaming properties such as cell morphology, volume expansion ratio (VER), open cell content (OCC) and crystallinity were investigated. As per the DSC thermograms, it was observed that compatibilization has merged the two distinctive melting peaks of PLA and PBAT into a single peak while lowering the peak temperature. In general, the addition of talc has decreased the average cell size and VER and increased the cell density and crystallinity; however, it has varying effects on the open cell content. Compatibilization has reduced the average cell size and volume expansion but increased the cell density and had varying and no effects on the OCC and crystallinity, respectively. Similar to compatibilization, the die temperature was found to have varying and no effects on the OCC and crystallinity, respectively. Except for PLA and non-compatibilized PLA/PBAT blend, the cell size and VER of all other formulations did not vary much throughout the entire temperature range (130-150°C). The cell density was found to be insensitive to die temperatures except for Ecovio and Ecovio-talc.