Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 2011, 76, 1509-1527
Published online 2011-12-16 14:16:13

Assessment on the effects of the operational conditions on the manufacture of PLA-based composites using an integrated compounding–injection moulding machine

Daniel Gonzáleza,b, Ana Rita Camposc, Antonio M. Cunhad, Valentín Santosa,b,* and Juan Carlos Parajóa,b

a Chemical Engineering Department, Politechnical Building, Campus Ourense, University of Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
b CITI, Investigation, Transfer and Innovation Center, Avda. Galicia No. 2, Parque Tecnolóxico de Galicia, San Cibrao das Viñas, 32900 Ourense, Spain
c PIEP – Innovation in Polymer Engineering, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
d IPC – Institute for Polymers and Composites, Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal


Cellulose fibres were employed as reinforcement agent for biodegradable composites using polylactic acid (PLA) as a polymer matrix. PLA can be obtained from renewable resources, and it is attracting much interest owing to its favourable physico-mechanical properties and biodegradability. Prior to composite compounding, two commercial PLA from different suppliers were characterized for apparent density, flow index, crystallinity, thermal properties, melt flow rheology and intrinsic viscosity for comparison. In experiments performed with an integrated compounding–injection moulding machine (ICIM), the effects of the processing conditions on the mechanical properties of composites (tensile strength, stiffness and strain at break) were analyzed using a Taguchi experimental design. Other properties of the composites, such as surface morphology and fibre length distribution, were also considered. ICIM technology provided composites with better mechanical properties and lower fibre degradation than the conventional sequential extrusion and injection moulding (SEIM) technology.

Keywords: Renewable resources; Materials science; Polymers; Polylactide; Biomass; Biocomposites; Mechanical properties; Injection moulding.

References: 25 live references.