Blending of Low Density Polyethylene and Poly(Butylene Succinate) (LDPE/PBS) with Maleic Anhydride Grafted Polyethylene (Pe-G-Ma) as a Compatibilizer on the Phase Morphology, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
The accumulation of non-degradable plastic waste in the environment leading to long-term environment, economic and waste management problems is a subject of great concern. In this study, low density polyethylene (LDPE) was compounded with different ratios of poly (butylene succinate) (PBS) at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 wt.%, with the aim to evaluate the potential of replacing commercial plastics with a biodegradable renewable polymer PBS for packaging applications. The influence of 0, 3, 5 and 7 phr polyethylene grafted maleic anhydride (PE-g-MA) as a compatibilizer on the morphology, mechanical and thermal properties of the LDPE/PBS blends were investigated. LDPE/PBS/PE-g-MA blends were prepared by melt blending method using Brabender internal mixer with a temperature of 120 °C, mixing speed of 50 rpm and molded into test samples by compression molding. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra confirmed the existence of LDPE, PBS and PE-g-MA separately in the matrix for each blend that showed the physical interaction between the components. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results revealed that the LDPE/PBS/PE-g-MA blends demonstrated better compatibility and homogeneity between LDPE matrix and PBS phase. Compatibilized LDPE/PBS blends showed an improvement in the tensile strength than those of the LDPE/PBS blends, with 5 phr of compatibilizer providing the optimum content. The thermal stability of LDPE/PBS blends decreased with increasing PBS content. However, the thermal stability of compatibilized blends was higher as compared to the uncompatibilized blends. On the other hand, the PBS content and the incorporation of 5 phr PE-g-MA slightly increased the melting temperature (Tm) of the LDPE/PBS blends. Therefore, this work showed that the partial replacement of LDPE with a biodegradable PBS and PE-g-MA compatibilizer could lead to the development of an innovative blend with better structural, mechanical and thermal properties.
Keywords - Polyethylene, Poly(Butylene Succinate), Polymer Blends, Morphology, Mechanical and Thermal Properties