2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Elucidating the Effect of Processing Conditions on the Morphologies of Polyhydroxyalkanoates

Y. Xie and Y.A. Akpalu
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US

Keywords:
polyhydroxyalkanoate, morphology, SAXS, USAXS, POM

Abstract:
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable and thermoplastic polyesters produced by a wide variety of bacteria from renewable resources. PHAs have recently attracted much interest because of their biodegradability and biocompatibility. They possess mechanical properties comparable to those of conventional thermoplastics. Therefore, PHAs offer a sustainable, renewable alternative to petroleum-based products. Since the ultimate properties of polymers can be controlled by processing conditions, particularly cooling rate, the systematic and thorough understanding of the effect of cooling rate on the final morphologies, which in turn influence the thermo-mechanical properties of PHAs, is necessary and important. The lamellar (tens of nanometers), fibrillar (several hundred nanometers) and spherulitic (~ µm) morphologies of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and the copolymer poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) crystallized under different cooling rate were studied using simultaneous small angle X-ray scattering and ultra small angle X-ray scattering, and polarized optical microscopy, respectively. The lamellar structures and spherulitic morphologies were observed to depend strongly on cooling rate. The influence of cooling rate on the lamellar, fibrillar and spherulitic morphologies of the PHAs studied will be discussed.

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