Enhancing the PLA crystallization rate by incorporating a polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) block copolymer: Synergy of polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate) segments

Chien Pang Wu, Cheng Chien Wang, Chuh Yung Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) exhibiting a well-defined structure was prepared combining anionic polymerization and mercaptan/ε-caprolactam living polymerization. To evaluate how this block copolymer affected the crystallization of polylactide (PLA), 0.5 wt % thiol-terminated PS homopolymer (PSSH), PMMA, and PS-b-PMMA was melt-blended with PLA. The calorimetric characterization of the nonisothermal and isothermal crystallization behavior was analyzed according to Avrami's theory, indicating that PS-b-PMMA more effectively increased the crystallization kinetics of the PLA matrix than did PSSH or PMMA. The results revealed that the synergistic effect of the PS and PMMA blocks appeared only when they were simultaneously presented in the PLA matrix. The PS block increased the number of nucleation sites and decreased the spherulite size, whereas the PMMA block facilitated the excellent dispersion of PS-b-PMMA in the PLA matrix as shown in polarizing optical microscope experiments. Incorporating PS-b-PMMA improved the PLA crystallization rate by promoting heterogeneous nucleation. In addition, incorporating 0.5 wt % PS-b-PMMA increased the relative crystallinity of PLA to 43.5%, and decreased the crystallization half-time to 2.4 min when the blend was isothermal at 105 °C. The PLA crystal structure was unchanged by the presence of PS-b-PMMA; however, the crystallization rate was enhanced as probed by SEM and X-ray diffraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-832
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Volume52
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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