Melt processability and thermomechanical properties of blends based on polyhydroxyalkanoates and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The limited thermal stability of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) hinders their wide applicability, and methods to improve the processability of these biopolyesters are needed for efficient processing, e.g. by melt extrusion. In the present study we have shown by isothermal gravimetry, dynamic rheology and molecular weight analysis that the thermal stability of the PHAs at the processing temperature can be dramatically improved by simply washing the materials in a 1 mM aqueous HCl solution. Hence, the thermal decomposition temperature increased by up to 50 °C after the treatment. Subsequently, treated poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) were blended with different amounts of poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) by melt extrusion in order to further enhance the processability and thermomechanical properties. Microscopy of freeze fractured samples of the biodegradable blends showed phase separated blends with poor interfacial adhesion. Melt rheology and dynamic mechanical analysis results indicated a phase inversion between 60 and 80 wt% of the respective PHA. After adding dicumyl peroxide during the extrusion, the interfacial adhesion improved significantly, and the dynamic shear and tensile storage modulii increased with increasing content of the peroxide. The results of the present study demonstrate that an acid wash may significantly improve processability of PHAs, and that combinations of blending and reactive extrusion can be employed to further enhance and tune the thermomechanical properties of the materials.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Lund University
  • Baxter Medical AB
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Engineering and Technology
  • Natural Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44354-44363
Number of pages10
JournalRSC Advances
Volume6
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 28
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

Electronic supplementary information (ESI) available: Additional data and graphs. See DOI: 10.1039/c6ra06282b