The effect of dicumyl peroxide (DCP) as a free-radical cross-linking agent on the morphology, thermal and mechanical properties, and gas permeation of blown films prepared by reactive blending of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and natural rubber latex was investigated. In comparison to the blown films without DCP, SEM micrographs revealed that the amount of debonded rubber domains from the cryofractured surface reduced considerably. This was when DCP at 0.003 phr was incorporated and the free radicals from thermally decomposed DCP reacted with PLA and NR chains, generating PLA–NR copolymers and cross-linked NR as confirmed by FTIR spectra. These PLA–NR copolymers acted as compatibilizers, which increased the strength at the PLA/NR interfaces, leading to the improvement in tensile strength, elongation at break, tensile toughness, impact strength, and tear strength. Although DCP did not influence the cold crystallization of PLA, TGA thermograms showed that thermal stability slightly increased owing to the enhanced interfacial adhesion. However, the addition of DCP at 0.005 and 0.010 phr resulted in a high content of cross-linked NR gel, by consuming the free radicals instead in copolymer formation. Therefore, the compatibilization efficiency was significantly reduced and the mechanical properties of reactive PLA/NR blown films finally dropped. Also, this poor interfacial adhesion facilitated the microvoid formation at the polymer–rubber interface as a result of mechanical stretching upon the film blowing process, increasing the permeation of water vapor and oxygen molecules. According to our study, it can be summarized that to optimize the morphology, mechanical properties, and gas permeation property of the free radical-assisted reactive blends, it is of great concern to carefully balance reactive compatibilizer formation and gel formation by adjusting the DCP content.
Iranian Polymer Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 17, 2017
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