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DEVELOPMENT OF A NOVEL MELT COMPOUNDING TECHNOLOGY TO PREPARE PLA BASED BIONANOCOMPOSITES
 
Research and development on biodegradable polymers has received increased attention in recent years because of their wide use in environmental friendly packaging and automotive applications. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is one of the prominent biopolymers due to its biodegradability, availability from renewable resources and convenient for industrial production processes such as extrusion and injection moulding. To further improve properties of PLA, nanoparticles are used at low loading levels without deteoriating processing properties. Nanoclays are one of the most preferred nanomaterials in polymer nanocomposites due to having a high surface area of 750 m2/g when it is dispersed entirely in the polymer matrix. The large surface of the nanoclays increases interaction with the polymer matrix thus improves many properties such as mechanical, rheological and barrier of the polymers. However, the development of new materials in nanotechonology applications results in material wastage and high cost since there is a need to make a wide range of experimental trials to determine right formulation and traditional melt compounders have large scale process outputs. This study investigates effect of organoclay loading the mechanical, thermal and morphological properties of PLA using a novel melt compounder, capable of operating small amounts of 10-100 grams. The results showed that the melt compounder not only prevented costly material wastage but also provided effective mixing as replicating the mixing elements of a twin screw extruder into this laboratory scale compounder provided dispersive mixing and fixing an interacting inline screw generated better distributive mixing. In the study, it is concluded that new melt compounder is a promising candidate to prepare bionanocomposites.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Poly(lactic acid), Nanoclays, Melt compounder, Bionanocomposites



 


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