Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.98, No.9, 1998-2007, 2020
Isothermal crystallization ofPLA: Nucleation density and growth rates of alpha and alpha' phases
From a technological point of view, poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is one of the most important polymers produced from renewable sources, due to its versatility, relatively acceptable processability, and low cost. However, a significant limitation exists in its slow crystallization kinetics, which results in amorphous products having low mechanical properties and thermal resistance. For this reason, quantitative knowledge of the phenomenon of crystallization kinetics is fundamental. In this work, the crystallization kinetics in quiescent conditions of a commercial grade of PLA was analyzed in terms of nucleation and growth rates by direct morphological observations at different crystallization temperatures (T-c) and by calorimetric analysis in isothermal and non-isothermal conditions. The optical analysis showed a spherulitic morphology with radial growth of the lamellae. The analysis of the growth rate evidenced the alpha/alpha'-crystals polymorphism with a transition temperature of similar to 120 degrees C. Based on experimental observation, the crystallization kinetics of the two crystalline phases were assessed.