Cavitation-Mediated Fracture Energy Dissipation in Polylactide at Rubbery Soybean Oil-Based Block Copolymer Interfaces Formed via Reactive Extrusion

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Kuehl, Baker W.
Hohmann, Austin
Lee, Ting Han
Forrester, Michael
Hernandez, Nacu
Dietrich, Hannah
Smith, Connor
Musselman, Sam
Tran, Grayson
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American Chemical Society
Cochran, Eric
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Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

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1913 - present

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  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

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Here, we spearhead a new approach to biopolymer impact modification that demonstrates superior performance while maintaining greater than 99% compostability. Using soybean-based monomers, a virtually untapped resource in terms of commercial volume and overall cost, a series of hyperbranched block copolymers were synthesized and melt-processed with poly(l-lactide) (PLA) to yield impact resistant all-polymer composites. Although PLA impact modification has been treated extensively, to date, the only practical solutions have relied on non-compostable petroleum-based rubbers. This study illustrates the activity of energy dissipation mechanisms such as cavitation, classically relegated to well-entangled petroleum-based rubbers, in poorly entangled hyperbranched soybean-based rubbers. Furthermore, we present a complete study of the mechanical performance and morphology of these impact modified PLA composites. The significance of combining deformation theory with a scalable green alternative to petroleum-based rubbers opens up a potential avenue for cheap compostable engineering thermoplastics.
This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c10496. Posted with permission.