Compostable terpolymers of l-lactide (LLA), delta-valerolactone (DVL), and switchgrass organosolv lignin (OSL) were synthesized via ring-opening polymerization to improve on polylactide homopolymer properties for commercial applications. OSL has properties that improve some of the deficiencies of polylactide, including polylactide’s limitations for use in food, beverage and medical applications due to its high water permeability and low ultraviolet light (UV) blocking capabilities. DVL was incorporated into these polymers to add flexibility. The addition of DVL to the polymer had a positive effect on the tensile strain properties of the resultant terpolymer, resulting in a more flexible polymer with a reduced Young’s modulus. Water vapor transmission rate calculations confirmed that water vapor was transported more slowly through terpolymer films than through the PLLA homopolymer under varying hygrostatic conditions. While the addition of DVL increased UV permeability, the addition of even a small amount of lignin can effectively counteract this effect.
- Biobased compostable terpolymers
- Polylactide–co-delta-valerolactone–co-lignin terpolymer (PLLA–DVL–OSL)
- Polymer degradation rate
- Water permeability
- Water vapor transmission rate