Polylactide (PLA) was melt blended with either polypropylene (PP) or a polypropylene based elastomer (PBE, Vistamaxx) in an effort to improve its mechanical properties. An ethylene-glycidyl methacrylate-methyl acrylate terpolymer (PEGMMA, Lotader) was utilized as compatibilizer through coupling to the end groups of PLA. Graft copolymers formed enhanced the adhesion between PLA and polyolefin phases and lowered the interfacial tension. The morphological, mechanical, and rheological properties of the PLA/polyolefin compatibilized blends were investigated, and the blends exhibited substantial improvement in elongation at break and tensile toughness as compared to the corresponding binary blends. The remarkable efficacy of PEGMMA as a reactive compatibilizing agent allows the bridging of two immiscible but important classes of thermoplastics, polylactide and polypropylene, and the production of ductile PLA/PP blend materials.
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© 2015 American Chemical Society.