Hygrothermal ageing of reprocessed Polylactide

J. D. Badia, L. Santonja-Blasco, A Martinez-Felipe, A. Ribes-Greus

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62 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of an accelerated hygrothermal ageing simulation test on a commercial PLA and its three subsequent mechanically-reprocessed materials was studied. The analysis was focused on the water diffusion kinetics and the physico-chemical changes induced by the hygrothermal degradation. Water diffusion proceeded faster than chain relaxation processes, as defined by a Case II absorption model. It was proved that the water diffusion rate decreased with subsequent reprocessing cycles and increased with higher hygrothermal ageing temperatures. Hydrolytic chain scission provoked significant molar mass decays and consequent general losses of thermal and mechanical performance. The rearrangement into crystalline fractions of shorter chains provoked by hygrothermal ageing was qualitatively and quantitatively followed by both Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Differential Scanning Calorimetry. The microstructural changes were monitored by the cold-crystallization temperature, the crystallinity degree XC and the absorbance intensity ratio I921/I955. A Weibull model showed that the crystallites were formed faster at higher reprocessing cycles and at lower hygrothermal ageing temperatures. All these effects were particularly significant for PLA reprocessed more than one time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1881–1890
Number of pages10
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Issue number10
Early online date15 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Event3rd International Conference on Biodegradable and Biobased Polymers - ECPM, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg , France
Duration: 29 Aug 201131 Aug 2011

Bibliographical note

B.Sc. Oscar Gil-Castell is acknowledged for his dedication in the lab and his outstanding attitude towards learning. The authors thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, through the Research Projects ENE2011-28735-C02-01 and UPOVCE-3E-013, the Ministry of Education and Science for the awarding of the FPI pre-doctoral grant to L. Santonja-Blasco and FPU pre-doctoral grants to A. Martinez-Felipe and J.D. Badía. The financial support of the Generalitat Valenciana, through the Grisolia (A. Martinez-Felipe) and Forteza (J.D. Badia) programs and the ACOMP/2011/189. UPV is thanked for additional support through the PAID 05-09-4331 program and the PAID 04-11 for the allowance conceded to attend to the III International Conference on Biodegradable and Biobased Polymers (BIOPOL2011) in Strasbourg.


  • Polylactide (PLA)
  • Hygrothermal ageing
  • Water absorption kinetics
  • Crystallinity
  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
  • Fourier-transform infrared analysis (FT-IR)


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