29.01.2021 •

Poly(Lactic Acid)–Thermoplastic Starch–Cotton Composites: Starch‐compatibilizing Effects and Composite Biodegradability


Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a biodegradable, brittle, and high‐cost polymer, which can be applied over structural components and green packaging. In this study, we reinforced PLA with natural cotton (10 wt %) and thermoplastic starch (TPS; 3 wt %) to obtain a biodegradable and lower cost composite. TPS was incorporated in three distinct ways: it was blended, coated, and blended and coated. In this study, we investigated the compatibilization of TPS in the improvement of matrix‐reinforcement adhesion and increase in the tensile behavior without a compromise in biodegradation. The samples were investigated with thermal analysis, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis, tensile testing, scanning electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and hydrolytic degradation. The results show that the coupling effect was more pronounced in the PLATPS–cottonTPS (hybrid system with PLA and cotton) hybrid system. This formulation presented a higher glass‐transition temperature, thermal stability, storage modulus, wettability, and ductility. The TPS addition improved the adhesion between the matrix and starched cotton fiber and retarded abiotic biodegradation. These properties will allow for green applications.