The use of low cost, abundant, homopolymers for engineering degradable polymer blends: Compatibilization of poly (lactic acid)/styrenics using poly (methyl methacrylate)
Using known parameters for the surface and interfacial tension, the work of adhesion of PMMA with PLA and styrenic polymers has been calculated. The results indicated that PMMA, an abundant and economical homopolymer, could serve as an effective compatibilizer, rivaling complex and costly block copolymers for PLA/ styrenic blends. Blends of PLA with either SAN or ABS were produced with added 1%-10% PMMA. Tensile and impact toughness data show that the blends display propertyies comparable to those of PP with only 4% added PMMA. Deuterated-secondary ion mass spectrometry (DSIMS) performed with deuterated PMMA indicated that this corresponded to the formation of an interfacial layer approximately 2Rg thick, as the optimal thickness for integrating two polymers, without the formation of a third brittle layer. Blends with ABS showed an increase of nearly 300% in impact toughness compared to that for polymer containing no PMMA, while blends with SAN formed ideal extruted filaments, which produced 3-D printed structures at least 58% stronger and more ductile than molded PS.
*Zuo X, Xue Y, Zhou Y, Yin Y, Li TD, Wang L, Chuang YC, Chang C, Rafailovich M, Guo Y. Polymer 2020; 186: 122010