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Nanocomposites of Poly(lactic acid) and Surface-Grafted MgO Nanoparticles: Preparation and Characterization

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Incorporating small amounts of rigid nanoparticles within a polymer host to prepare polymer nanocomposites has shown great potential to enhance the physical, thermomechanical, and processing characteristics of pristine polymers since the 1990s. In this study, we first prepared surface-grafted MgO (g-MgO) by in situ melt polycondensation of lactic acid and surface-hydroxylated MgO nanoparticles and then prepared poly(lactic acid) (PLA) nanocomposites through thermal compounding of PLA and g-MgO/MgO nanoparticles. The morphological, mechanical, and thermal properties of PLA/MgO and PLA/g-MgO nanocomposites were characterized. PLA/g-MgO nanocomposites exhibited higher tensile strength than neat PLA. Morphology of the fracture surfaces showed that stronger interfacial interaction was formed in PLA/g-MgO nanocomposites than in PLA/MgO nanocomposites. Surface grafting MgO with PLA chains likely results in enhanced chain entanglement and mechanical interlocking with the polymer matrix and, consequently, better adhesion. Increased thermal stability was observed for PLA/g-MgO nanocomposites with g-MgO loading levels lower than 0.05%, whereas decreased thermal stability was observed for all PLA/MgO nanocomposites.
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Keywords: MECHANICAL AND THERMAL PROPERTIES; POLY(LACTIC ACID) (PLA); POLYMER NANOCOMPOSITES; SURFACE-HYDROXYLATED MAGNESIUM OXIDE (MGO); THERMAL COMPOUNDING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2011

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  • The goal of the creation of a biobased economy is challenging to agriculture, forestry, academia, government and industry. The extractable resources of the Earth are finite, regardless of the quibble over when they will be depleted. The economic, political and social demands for biobased chemicals, materials and energy are expected to radically transform the materials industries, particularly the plastics industry as well as the biofuel industry. These changes will be based on the principles of sustainability, eco-efficiency, industrial ecology, and green chemistry and engineering. In keeping with the growth of knowledge in this field, there is a strong need for a forum to share original research related to biobased materials and bioenergy. The Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (JBMB) has been created as an international peer-reviewed periodical to fulfill the need for communication in these research areas. This journal will encompass related research activities in all fields of science, engineering and the life sciences.
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