Forensic engineering of advanced polymeric materials. Part III - Biodegradation of thermoformed rigid PLA packaging under industrial composting conditions.
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AbstractThis paper presents a forensic engineering study on the biodegradation behaviour of prototype packaging thermoformed from PLA-extruded film and plain PLA film under industrial composting conditions. Hydrolytic degradation in water was conducted for reference. The effects of composting duration on changes in molar mass, glass transition temperature and degree of crystallinity of the polymeric material were monitored using gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The chemical structure of water soluble degradation products of the polymeric material was determined using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The results show that the biodegradation process is less dependent on the thermoforming process of PLA and more dependent on the composting/degradation conditions that are applied. The increase in the dispersity index, leading to the bimodal molar mass distribution profile, suggests an autocatalytic hydrolysis effect at the early stage of the composting process, during which the bulk hydrolysis mechanism dominantly operates. Both the prototype PLA-packaging and PLA rigid film samples were shown to have a gradual increase in opacity due to an increase in the degree of crystallinity.
CitationForensic engineering of advanced polymeric materials. Part III - Biodegradation of thermoformed rigid PLA packaging under industrial composting conditions. 2016, 52:69-76 Waste Manag
JournalWaste management (New York, N.Y.), Volume 52, June 2016, Pages 69-76
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