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Effect of stereocomplex crystal and flexible segments on the crystallization and tensile behavior of poly(l-lactide)

Li, Xiaolu, Zhang, Xiuqin, Liu, Guoming, Yang, Zhongkai, Yang, Bo, Qi, Yue, Wang, Rui, Wang, De-Yi
RSC advances 2018 v.8 no.50 pp. 28453-28460
crystallization, crystals, differential scanning calorimetry, glass transition temperature, light microscopy, polyethylene glycol, tensile strength, wide-angle X-ray scattering
The effects of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and/or poly(d-lactide) (PDLA) blocks on the crystallization and mechanical properties of poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) were investigated systematically via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarized optical microscopy (POM), wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) and tensile testing. The structural evolution during uniaxial stretching of the obtained blends above the glass transition temperature was studied by in situ WAXD. It was observed that the stereocomplex (SC) crystals promoted the nucleation of PLLA homocrystals (α/α′ crystal), and flexible PEG blocks could enhance the spherulitic growth rate. The PLLA/PDLA–PEG–PDLA had a higher elongation at break than that of PLLA/PDLA without significant loss in tensile strength and stiffness. In situ WAXD showed that the PLLA/PDLA–PEG–PDLA crystallized faster during stretching. It was shown that the incorporation of SC crystals and flexible PEG blocks could not only accelerate the crystallization but also improve the toughness of PLLA.