University of Oulu

Herrera, N.; Singh, A.A.; Salaberria, A.M.; Labidi, J.; Mathew, A.P.; Oksman, K. Triethyl Citrate (TEC) as a Dispersing Aid in Polylactic Acid/Chitin Nanocomposites Prepared via Liquid-Assisted Extrusion. Polymers 2017, 9, 406. doi:10.3390/polym9090406

Triethyl citrate (TEC) as a dispersing aid in polylactic acid/chitin nanocomposites prepared via liquid-assisted extrusion

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Author: Herrera, Natalia1; Singh, Anshu Anjali1; Salaberria , Asier M.2;
Organizations: 1Division of Materials Science, Composite Center Sweden, Luleå University of Technology
2Biorefinery Processes Research Group, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Guipúzcoa, University of the Basque Country
3Division of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University
4Fibre and Particle Engineering, University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 13.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-12-04


The production of fully bio-based and biodegradable nanocomposites has gained attention during recent years due to environmental reasons; however, the production of these nanocomposites on the large-scale is challenging. Polylactic acid/chitin nanocrystal (PLA/ChNC) nanocomposites with triethyl citrate (TEC) at varied concentrations (2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 wt %) were prepared using liquid-assisted extrusion. The goal was to find the minimum amount of the TEC plasticizer needed to enhance the ChNC dispersion. The microscopy study showed that the dispersion and distribution of the ChNC into PLA improved with the increasing TEC content. Hence, the nanocomposite with the highest plasticizer content (7.5 wt %) showed the highest optical transparency and improved thermal and mechanical properties compared with its counterpart without the ChNC. Gel permeation chromatography confirmed that the water and ethanol used during the extrusion did not degrade PLA. Further, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed improved interaction between PLA and ChNC through hydrogen bonding when TEC was added. All results confirmed that the plasticizer plays an important role as a dispersing aid in the processing of PLA/ChNC nanocomposites.

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Series: Polymers
ISSN: 2073-4360
ISSN-E: 2073-4360
ISSN-L: 2073-4360
Volume: 9
Issue: 9
Article number: 406
DOI: 10.3390/polym9090406
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 221 Nanotechnology
216 Materials engineering
116 Chemical sciences
Funding: The authors gratefully acknowledge Bio4Energy, Kempestiftelserna, and Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) in Sweden for the financial support of this work.
Copyright information: © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (