Testing, characterization and modelling of mechanical behaviour of poly (lactic-acid) and poly (butylene succinate) blends

2016-11-16T10:08:40Z (GMT) by Tianyang Qiu Mo Song Liguo Zhao
Background Significant amount of research, both experimental and numerical, has been conducted to study the mechanical behaviour of biodegradable polymer PL(L)A due to its wide range of applications. However, mechanical brittleness or poor elongation of PL(L)A has limited its applications considerably, particularly in the biomedical field. This study aims to study the potential in improving the ductility of PLA by blending with PBS in varied weight ratios. Methods The preparation of PLA and PBS blends, with various weight ratios, was achieved by melting and mixing technique at high temperature using HAAKE™ Rheomix OS Mixer. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) was applied to investigate the melting behaviour, crystallization and miscibility of the blends. Small dog-bone specimens, produced by compression moulding, were used to test mechanical properties under uniaxial tension. Moreover, an advanced viscoplastic model with nonlinear hardening variables was applied to simulate rate-dependent plastic deformation of PLA/PBS blends, with model parameters calibrated simultaneously against the tensile test data. Results Optical Microscopy showed that PBS composition aid with the crystallization of PLA. The elongation of PLA/PBS blends increased with the increase of PBS content, but with a compromise of tensile modulus and strength. An increase of strain rate led to enhanced stress response, demonstrating the time-dependent deformation nature of the material. Model simulations of time-dependent plastic deformation for PLA/PBS blends compared well with experimental results. Conclusions The crystallinity of PLA/PBS blends increased with the addition of PBS content. The brittleness of pure PLA can be improved by blending with ductile PBS using mechanical mixing technique, but with a loss of stiffness and strength. The tensile tests at different strain rates confirmed the time-dependent plastic deformation nature of the blends, i.e., viscoplasticity, which can be simulated by the Chaboche viscoplastic model with nonlinear hardening variables.