Influence of TiO2 nanoparticles on the crystallization behaviour and tensile properties of PLA/TiO2, PCL/TiO2 and PLA/PCL/TiO2 nanocomposites.
This paper investigated the influence of TiO2 nanoparticles on the morphologies, as well as crystallization behaviour and kinetics, of neat PLA and PCL, and of these polymers in different PLA/PCL blends. We used transmission electron microscopy to evaluate the morphologies of the systems, while the crystallization behaviour and kinetics were investigated through differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). In addition to standard and modulated (StepScan) DSC analyses, the self-nucleation temperatures of neat PCL and PCL in the different nanocomposites were determined, followed by a self-nucleation and annealing thermal fractionation analysis of PCL crystallization and an Avrami isothermal kinetic analysis of PCL crystallization and PLA cold crystallization. We found that the nanoparticles were well dispersed, but only in the PLA phase of the blends, with only a few on the interface or in the PCL phase. They did nucleate and accelerate, and influence the mechanism of, the PCL crystallization in neat PCL, but had little influence on PCL crystallization in the blends. They strongly influenced the rate of cold crystallization of PLA, but had little influence on this parameter in the blends. The tensile properties were also determined, and changes in these properties could be related to the morphologies of the systems.
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