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Fundamentals of poly(lactic acid) microstructure, crystallization behavior, and properties

Shuhui Kang, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Poly(lactic acid) is an environmentally-benign biodegradable and sustainable thermoplastic material, which has found broad applications as food packaging films and as non-woven fibers. The crystallization and deformation mechanisms of the polymer are largely determined by the distribution of conformation and configuration. Knowledge of these mechanisms is needed to understand the mechanical and thermal properties on which processing conditions mainly depend. In conjunction with laser light scattering, Raman spectroscopy and normal coordinate analysis are used in this thesis to elucidate these properties. Vibrational spectroscopic theory, Flory's rotational isomeric state (RIS) theory, Gaussian chain statistics and statistical mechanics are used to relate experimental data to molecular chain structure. A refined RIS model is proposed, chain rigidity recalculated and chain statistics discussed. A Raman spectroscopic characterization method for crystalline and amorphous phase orientation has been developed. A shrinkage model is also proposed to interpret the dimensional stability for fibers and uni- or biaxially stretched films. A study of stereocomplexation formed by poly(l-lactic acid) and poly(d-lactic acid) is also presented.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Kang, Shuhui, "Fundamentals of poly(lactic acid) microstructure, crystallization behavior, and properties" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110508.