Enhancement of Gas Barrier Properties of Graphene Oxide/Poly (Lactic Acid) Films Using a Solvent-free Method
Graphene oxide(GO)/polylactic acid (PLA) nanocomposite, prepared using a solvent-free melt mixing processing, is investigated as a potential oxygen barrier packaging film in this work. In order to disperse GO homogeneously in PLA matrix, hydrophobic silane coupling agent, i.e., γ-(2,3-epoxypropoxy)propyltrimethoxysilane (KH560), is used to modify the graphene oxide sheets. The modified GO is able to be well bonded to the PLA due to the formation of covalent bonds between the epoxy groups of
... epoxy groups of KH560 and the carboxyl and hydroxyl terminal groups of PLA. Furthermore, the thermal stability of GO is enhanced due to the long alkyl side chain of KH560, which could also increase the crystallinity of PLA. As a result, the crystallinity of PLA is significantly improved because of the linear KH560 chains, which can act as nucleating agents to improve the crystallization. The KH560-GO helps to reduce the O2 permeability of KH560-GO/PLA composite films via a dual-action mechanism: (1) providing physical barrier due to their native barrier properties, and (2) by resulting in higher degree of crystallinity. The as-prepared KH560-GO0.75/PLA is able to exhibit ca. 33% and ca. 13% decrease in the PO2 than the neat PLA and GO0.75/PLA film, respectively. Finally, the mechanical properties and impact fractured surfaces indicate that the increase in the tensile strength and elongation at break value of KH560-GO/PLA are due to the strong interfacial adhesion and the strong bonding between the epoxy group of KH560-GO and hydroxyl and carboxyl acid terminal groups of PLA matrix.