Entirely environment-friendly polylactide composites with outstanding heat resistance and superior mechanical performance fabricated by spunbond technology: Exploring the role of nanofibrillated stereocomplex polylactide crystals

Amirjalal Jalali, Sandra Romero-Diez, Mohammadreza Nofar, Chul B. Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aims at investigating the manufacturing and characterization of all-polylactide composites prepared by melt spunbond spinning technology. To do so, a series of asymmetric stereocomplex polylactide (SC-PLA) blends (PLLA 95 wt%/PDLA 5 wt%) was melt spun. To examine the impact of molecular structure of PDLA, the blends of linear PLLA, and low and high molecular weight as well as branched PDLAs, were subjected to a single step spunbond process. DSC thermograms of the samples showed two melting temperatures at around 170 °C and 210 °C, which were attributed to the melting of homo and stereocomplex crystals, respectively. The samples were spun at 190 °C, between the homo and stereocomplex crystals' melting temperatures, and at 230 °C, above the stereocomplex crystals' melting temperature. Morphology images showed the formation of fibers in the range of 40–50 μm. Shear rheological measurements revealed that the spun SC-PLA samples had a substantially higher viscosity and storage modulus in the low frequency region, and higher shear thinning behavior, compared to the non-spun samples. Extensional rheology measurements also showed that the spun samples demonstrated strain hardening behavior. Substantial enhancement of rheological properties was noted for the samples containing the branched and high molecular weight PDLA spun at 230 °C. After etching, the spun samples at 190 °C exhibited small spherical crystals with diameters in the range of 80–90 nm, whereas comparatively thin fibers in the size range of 60–70 nm were observed for the samples spun at 230 °C. Remarkable enhancements up to 100% and 60% was noted for the tensile modulus and strength, respectively, of the spun SC-PLA samples. The spun fibers also demonstrated a considerable reduction in boiling water and hot air shrinkage. The distinctive role of nanofibrillated stereocomplex crystals as a rheology modifier and a crystallization nucleating agent makes PLA more sustainable and paves the way for the fabricated all-PLA composites in applications requiring high heat resistance and superior mechanical performance. The present study unequivocally indicates a huge potential for the sustainable entirely all-PLA products manufactured by fiber in fiber and, indeed, unfolds unknown opportunities for PLA-based merchandises in future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2210-2220
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Volume193
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Crystallization
  • Nanofibrillated composites
  • PLA composites
  • Rheology
  • Stereocomplex PLA

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Entirely environment-friendly polylactide composites with outstanding heat resistance and superior mechanical performance fabricated by spunbond technology: Exploring the role of nanofibrillated stereocomplex polylactide crystals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this