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Loss of thermoplastic elastomer toughening in polylactide after weathering

Meyva-Zeybek, Y.
Kaynak, Cevdet
It has been already pointed out that one of the best ways to increase toughness of the inherently brittle polylactide (PLA) without sacrificing strength and modulus is the use of thermoplastic elastomer toughening approach; but what happens under outdoor conditions was not explored. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore the degree of losses especially in fracture toughness of PLA when blended with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomer or thermoplastic polyester elastomer (TPE) after weathering. For this purpose, neat PLA, its 10 phr TPU and TPE blends were exposed to accelerated weathering conditions of both ultraviolet-irradiation cycles and moisture cycles as described in the standard of ISO 4892-3 for various periods. In general, due to the significant molecular weight reduction via chain scission reactions, drastic losses in the strength and toughness of the specimens were observed. On the other hand, in terms of %retention in the properties after weathering periods, it could be suggested that, rather than use of neat PLA, the use of its TPU or TPE blends would be still advantageous for both "indoor use" and also for "outdoor use." (c) 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.