Poly (lactic acid) foaming

Mohammadreza Nofar, Chul B. Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

424 Citations (Scopus)


Poly (lactic acid) or polylactide (PLA) is an aliphatic thermoplastic polyester produced from renewable resources and is compostable in the environment. Because of the massive use of foamed products of petroleum-based polymers, PLA foams have been considered as substitutes for some of these products. Specifically, because of PLA's competitive material and processing costs, and its comparable mechanical properties, PLA foams could potentially replace polystyrene (PS) foam products in a wide array of applications such as packaging, cushioning, construction, thermal and sound insulation, and plastic utensils. Due to their biocompatibility, PLA foams can also be used in such biomedical applications as scaffolding and tissue engineering. But PLA has several inherent drawbacks, which inhibit the production of low-density foams with uniform cell morphology. These drawbacks are mainly the PLA's low melt strength and its slow crystallization kinetics. During the last two decades, researchers have investigated the fundamentals of PLA/gas mixtures, PLA foaming mechanisms, and the effects of material modification on PLA's foaming behavior through various manufacturing technologies. This article reviews these investigations and compares the developments made thus far in PLA foaming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1741
Number of pages21
JournalProgress in Polymer Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Blowing agent
  • Foaming
  • PLA
  • Poly (lactic acid)
  • Polylactide
  • Review


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