Supramolecular Approach for Efficient Processing of Polylactide/Starch Nanocomposites.
ABSTRACT: All-biobased and biodegradable nanocomposites consisting of poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) and starch nanoplatelets (SNPs) were prepared via a new strategy involving supramolecular chemistry, i.e., stereocomplexation and hydrogen-bonding interactions. For this purpose, a poly(d-lactide)-b-poly(glycidyl methacrylate) block copolymer (PDLA-b-PGMA) was first synthesized via the combination of ring-opening polymerization and atom-transfer radical polymerization. NMR spectroscopy and size-exclusion chromatography analysis confirmed a complete control over the copolymer synthesis. The SNPs were then mixed up with the copolymer for producing a PDLA-b-PGMA/SNPs masterbatch. The masterbatch was processed by solvent casting for which a particular attention was given to the solvent selection to preserve SNPs morphology as evidenced by transmission electron microscopy. Near-infrared spectroscopy was used to highlight the copolymer-SNPs supramolecular interactions mostly via hydrogen bonding. The prepared masterbatch was melt-blended with virgin PLLA and then thin films of PLLA/PDLA-b-PGMA/SNPs nanocomposites (ca. 600 ?m) were melt-processed by compression molding. The resulting nanocomposite films were deeply characterized by thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Our findings suggest that supramolecular interactions based on stereocomplexation between the PLLA matrix and the PDLA block of the copolymer had a synergetic effect allowing the preservation of SNPs nanoplatelets and their morphology during melt processing. Quartz crystal microbalance and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis suggested a promising potential of the stereocomplex supramolecular approach in tuning PLLA/SNPs water vapor uptake and mechanical properties together with avoiding PLLA/SNPs degradation during melt processing.
Project description:Stereocomplex poly(lactide) (PLA) was obtained by solution blending of linear PLLA and PDLA-PEG-PDLA. Effects of the L/D ratios, PEG block, and PDLA block on stereocomplexation of the blends are systemically discussed. The full stereocomplex PLA can be acquired by solution blending when L/D ratios are in the range of 7/3⁻5/5. The experiment results demonstrated that the stereocomplex degree of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA prepared by melt blending was closely related to the PEG block and PDLA block. POM results indicated that the blends with high L/D ratio showed large disordered spherulites, and the typical Maltese cross pattern was observed as the L/D ratios decreased. The results of PEG block on the stereocomplexation of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA revealed that the PEG blocks possessed two sides: accelerating agent for the mobility of polymer chains and decreasing nucleation capacity due to their diluting effect. The effect of PDLA block on the stereocomplexation of the blends was also well investigated. The results showed that the crystallization of sc-crystallites and hc-crystallites in the PLLA/PDLA-PEG4k-PDLA blends with different PDLA blocks presents an obvious competition relationship, and this is not beneficial to the formation of sc-crystallites with increasing PDLA block. The melting behavior of PLLA/PDLA-PEG4k-PDLA with different PDLA blocks after isothermal crystallization showed that the blends could achieve full stereocomplex when the crystallization temperature exceeded 160 °C, and a crystallite with high perfection could be formed as the crystallization temperature increased. This study systemically investigated the effects of the L/D ratios, PEG block, PDLA block, and crystallization conditions on stereocomplex crystallization of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA blends, which can provide potential approaches to control the microstructure and physical performances of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA blends.
Project description:The control of nanostructuration of graphene and graphene related materials (GRM) into self-assembled structures is strictly related to the nanoflakes chemical functionalization, which may be obtained via covalent grafting of non-covalent interactions, mostly exploiting ?-stacking. As the non-covalent functionalization does not affect the sp2 carbon structure, this is often exploited to preserve the thermal and electrical properties of the GRM and it is a well-known route to tailor the interaction between GRM and organic media. In this work, non-covalent functionalization of graphite nanoplatelets (GnP) was carried out with ad-hoc synthesized pyrene-terminated oligomers of polylactic acid (PLA), aiming at the modification of GnP nanopapers thermal properties. PLA was selected based on the possibility to self-assemble in crystalline domains via stereocomplexation of complementary poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) and poly(D-lactide) (PDLA) enantiomers. Pyrene-initiated PLLA and PDLA were indeed demonstrated to anchor to the GnP surface. Calorimetric and X-ray diffraction investigations highlighted the enantiomeric PLAs adsorbed on the surface of the nanoplatelets self-organize to produce highly crystalline stereocomplex domains. Most importantly, PLLA/PDLA stereocomplexation delivered a significantly higher efficiency in nanopapers heat transfer, in particular through the thickness of the nanopaper. This is explained by a thermal bridging effect of crystalline domains between overlapped GnP, promoting heat transfer across the nanoparticles contacts. This work demonstrates the possibility to enhance the physical properties of contacts within a percolating network of GRM via the self-assembly of macromolecules and opens a new way for the engineering of GRM-based nanostructures.
Project description:The crystallization and morphology of PLA-mb-PBS copolymers and their corresponding stereocomplexes were studied. The effect of flexible blocks (i.e., polybutylene succinate, PBS) on the crystallization of the copolymers and stereocomplex formation were investigated using polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (13C-NMR). The PLA and PBS multiple blocks were miscible in the melt and in the glassy state. When the PLA-mb-PBS copolymers are cooled from the melt, the PLA component crystallizes first creating superstructures, such as spherulites or axialites, which constitute a template within which the PBS component has to crystallize when the sample is further cooled down. The Avrami theory was able to fit the overall crystallization kinetics of both semi-crystalline components, and the n values for both blocks in all the samples had a correspondence with the superstructural morphology observed by PLOM. Solution mixtures of PLLA-mb-PBS and PLDA-mb-PBS copolymers were prepared, as well as copolymer/homopolymer blends with the aim to study the stereocomplexation of PLLA and PDLA chain segments. A lower amount of stereocomplex formation was observed in copolymer mixtures as compared to neat L100/D100 stereocomplexes. The results show that PBS chain segments perturb the formation of stereocomplexes and this perturbation increases with the amount of PBS in the samples. However, when relatively low amounts of PBS in the copolymer blends are present, the rate of stereocomplex formation is enhanced. This effect dissappears when higher amounts of PBS are present. The stereocomplexation was confirmed by FTIR and solid state 13C-NMR analyses.
Project description:This article demonstrates an elegant approach for the fabrication of high heat-stable PLA using an industrially viable technique i.e. melt extrusion, which is quite challenging due to the higher viscosity of poly(lactic acid) melt. scPLA has been fabricated by melt extrusion of PLLA/PDLA using nano-amphiphilic chitosan (modified chitosan, MCH) which has been synthesized by grafting chitosan with oligomeric PLA via insitu polycondensation of L-lactic acid that possibly increases the molecular surface area and transforms it into nano-amphiphilic morphology and in turn lead to the formation of stereocomplex crystallites. The effect of MCH loading on the structural, morphological, mechanical and thermal properties of PLLA/PDLA have been investigated. The modification of chitosan and formation of stereocomplexation in PLA has been confirmed by FTIR and XRD techniques, respectively. Heat treatment has also laid a significant effect on the stereocomplexation and the degree of crystallinity of stereocomplex crystallites has been increased to ~70% for 1.5 wt % MCH content with the absence of homocrystals. The heat deflection temperature is found to be more than 140?°C for the biocomposite with 1.5% MCH in comparison to ~70?°C for pristine scPLA. The biocomposites display significant improvement in UTS and Young's modulus.
Project description:Stereocomplexation between enantiomeric poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) and poly(d-lactide) (PDLA) provides an avenue to greatly enhance performance of eco-friendly polylactide (PLA). Unfortunately, although the manufacturing of semicrystalline polymers generally involves melt processing, it is still hugely challenging to create high-performance stereocomplexed polylactide (sc-PLA) products from melt-processed high-molecular-weight PLLA/PDLA blends due to the weak crystallization memory effect of stereocomplex (sc) crystallites after complete melting as well as the substantial degradation of PLA chains at elevated melt-processing temperatures of ca. 240-260?°C. Inspired by the concept of powder metallurgy, here we report a new facile route to address these obstacles by sintering of sc-PLA powder at temperatures as low as 180-210?°C, which is distinctly different from traditional sintering of polymer powders performed at temperatures far exceeding their melting temperatures. The enantiomeric PLA chain segments from adjacent powder particles can interdiffuse across particle interfaces and co-crystallize into new sc crystallites capable of tightly welding the interfaces during the low-temperature sintering process, and thus highly transparent sc-PLA products with outstanding heat resistance, mechanical strength, and hydrolytic stability have been successfully fabricated for the first time.
Project description:In this study, polylactide/urea complexes were successfully prepared by the electrospinning method, then the host urea component was removed to obtain a coalesced poly(L-lactide) (PLLA)/poly(D-lactide) (PDLA) blend. The crystallization behavior of the coalesced PLLA/PDLA blend (c-PLLA/PDLA) was studied by a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The c-PLLA/PDLA was found to show better crystallization ability than normal PLLA/PDLA blend (r-PLLA/PDLA). More interestingly, the c-PLLA/PDLA effectively and solely crystallized into stereocomplex crystals during the non-isothermal melt-crystallization process, and the reason was attributed to the equally-distributing state of PLLA and PDLA chains in the PLLA/PDLA/urea complex, which led to good interconnection between PLLA and PDLA chains when the urea frameworks were instantly removed.
Project description:In this work, the preparation of nanocomposites based on poly(l-lactide) PLLA and graphite nanoplatelets (GNP) was assessed by applying, for the first time, the reactive extrusion (REX) polymerization approach, which is considered a low environmental impact method to prepare polymer systems and which allows an easy scalability. In particular, ad hoc synthesized molecules, constituted by a pyrene end group and a poly(d-lactide) (PDLA) chain (Pyr-d), capable of interacting with the surface of GNP layers as well as forming stereoblocks during the ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of l-lactide, were used. The nanocomposites were synthesized by adding to l-lactide the GNP/initiator system, prepared by dispersing the graphite in the acetone/Pyr-d solution, which was dried after the sonication process. DSC and X-ray diffraction measurements evidenced the stereocomplexation of the systems synthesized by using the pyrene-based initiators, whose extent turned out to depend on the PDLA chain length. All the prepared nanocomposites, including those synthesized starting from a classical initiator, that is, 1-dodecanol, retained similar electrical conductivity, whereas the thermal conductivity was found to increase in the stereocomplexed samples. Preferential localization of stereocomplexed PLA close to the interface with GNP was demonstrated by scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques, supporting an important role of local crystallinity in the thermal conductivity of the nanocomposites.
Project description:Responsive biomaterials play important roles in imaging, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) containing hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments are one class of biomaterial utilized for these purposes. The incorporation of luminescent molecules into NPs adds optical imaging and sensing capability to these vectors. Here we report on the synthesis of dual-emissive, pegylated NPs with "stealth"-like properties, delivered intravenously (IV), for the study of tumor accumulation. The NPs were created by means of stereocomplexation using a methoxy-terminated polyethylene glycol and poly(D-lactide) (mPEG-PDLA) block copolymer combined with iodide-substituted difluoroboron dibenzoylmethane-poly(L-lactide) (BF2dbm(I)PLLA). Boron nanoparticles (BNPs) were fabricated in two different solvent compositions to study the effects on BNP size distribution. The physical and photoluminescent properties of the BNPs were studied in vitro over time to determine stability. Finally, preliminary in vivo results show that stereocomplexed BNPs injected IV are taken up by tumors, an important prerequisite to their use as hypoxia imaging agents in preclinical studies.
Project description:The inadequate rheological properties limit the film blowing process of biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA), thus hindering its potential application in environmentally friendly packaging films and mulch films. Herein, biodegradable polyethylene glycol (PEG) and d-lactide were used to synthesize three kinds of poly-d-lactic acid (PDLA)-b-PEG-b-PDLA (DPD) triblock copolymers, and their effects on stereocomplex (sc) structure formation and rheological properties of the composites were studied. The results showed that the poly l-lactic acid (PLLA)/DPD4k sample introduced the highest sc content, storage modulus, and complex viscosity value compared with PLLA/DPD2k and PLLA/DPD10k at the same loading condition, indicating that the PEG4k chains can better accelerate the formation of a sc network between DPD4k and the PLLA matrix. The introduction of 10 wt % DPD4k also resulted in about 38 times longer relaxation time and a strain-hardening behavior during the steady biaxial extension of PLLA. At last, the continuous film blowing process was successfully conducted in the PLLA/DPD4k composites, which acquired a stable blow-up ratio of 3.07. On the basis of the above results, the soft chain-grafted PDLA copolymer may provide a novel method for film blowing of biodegradable PLA.
Project description:Co-crystallization of polymers with different configurations/tacticities provides access to materials with enhanced performance. The stereocomplexation of isotactic poly(L-lactide) and poly(D-lactide) has led to improved properties compared with each homochiral material. Herein, we report the preparation of stereocomplex micelles from a mixture of poly(L-lactide)-b-poly(acrylic acid) and poly(D-lactide)-b-poly(acrylic acid) diblock copolymers in water via crystallization-driven self-assembly. During the formation of these stereocomplex micelles, an unexpected morphological transition results in the formation of dense crystalline spherical micelles rather than cylinders. Furthermore, mixture of cylinders with opposite homochirality in either THF/H2O mixtures or in pure water at 65 °C leads to disassembly into stereocomplexed spherical micelles. Similarly, a transition is also observed in a related PEO-b-PLLA/PEO-b-PDLA system, demonstrating wider applicability. This new mechanism for morphological reorganization, through competitive crystallization and stereocomplexation and without the requirement for an external stimulus, allows for new opportunities in controlled release and delivery applications.