Enhanced Mechanical Properties of Uniaxially Stretched Polylactide/Poly(ethylene oxide)- b-Poly(butylene oxide) Blend Films

Boran Zhao, Charles J. McCutcheon, Kailong Jin, Illya Lyadov, Aristotle J. Zervoudakis, Frank S. Bates, Christopher J. Ellison

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Chain orientation, a natural consequence of polymer film processing, often leads to enhanced mechanical properties parallel to the machine extrusion direction (MD), while leaving the properties in the transverse direction (TD) unaffected or diminished, as compared to the unoriented material. Here, we report that mixing poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(butylene oxide) (PEO-PBO) diblock copolymer that forms dispersed particles in an amorphous polylactide (PLA) matrix produces uniaxially stretched blend films with enhanced toughness in both the MD and TD. Small-angle X-ray scattering experiments and visual observations revealed that the dominant deformation mechanism for blend films transitions from crazing to shear yielding in the MD as the stretching ratio increases, while crazing is the primary deformation mechanism in the TD at all stretching ratios investigated. As the films age at room temperature, crazing becomes more prevalent in the MD without compromising the improved toughness. The stretched blend films were susceptible to some degree of mechanical aging in the TD but remained fivefold tougher than stretched neat PLA films for up to 150 days. This work presents a feasible route to produce uniaxially stretched PEO-PBO/PLA films that are mechanically tough, which provides a more sustainable plastic alternative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8705-8714
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by the farm families of Minnesota and their corn check-off investment and in part by the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota, a Center for Chemical Innovation (CHE-1901635). Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility at the University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from the NSF through the MRSEC program (DMR-2011401). The film stretching experiments were conducted by Todd Lewis in the National Polymer Innovation Center (NPIC) at the University of Akron.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.


  • block copolymers
  • chain orientation
  • deformation mechanism
  • physical aging
  • polylactide
  • polymer blends
  • sustainable plastics

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