Effects of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) on crystalline morphology of stereocomplexing capacity of poly(L- and D-lactic acid) (PLLA and PDLA) were studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarizing-light optical microscopy (POM), atomic-force microscopy (AFM) and wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD). When crystallized at high Tc (130 °C or above), morphology transition of stereocomplexed PLA (sc-PLA) occurs from original well-rounded Maltese-cross spherulites to dendritic form in blends of high PHB contents (50 wt.% or higher), where PHB acts as an amorphous species. Microscopy characterizations show that morphology of sc-PLA in PHB/sc-PLA blends crystallized at Tc = 170 °C no longer retain original complexed Maltese-cross well-rounded spherulites; instead, the spherulites are disintegrated and restructured into two types of dendrites: (1) edge-on feather-like dendrites (early growth) and (2) flat-on wedge-like crystal plates (later growth) by growing along different directions and exhibiting different optical brightness. The concentration and/or distribution of amorphous PHB at the crystal growth front, corresponding to variation of the slopes of spherulitic growth rates, is a factor resulting in alteration and restructuring of the sc-PLA spherulites in the blends. Despite of spherulite disintegration, WAXD result shows that these two PHB-induced dendrites still retain the original unit cells of complexes, and thus these two new dendrites are sc-PLA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry