Nanocrystallisation and self-assembly of biosourced ferulic acid derivative in polylactic acid elastomeric blends

Vikram Singh Raghuwanshi, Antoine Gallos, David Joram Mendoza, Maoqi Lin, Florent Allais, Gil Garnier

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Hypothesis. The crystallisation of biosourced ferulic acid derivatives - Bis-O-feruloyl-1,4-butanediol (BDF) - in a polylactic acid (PLA) matrix produces thermoplastic elastomeric blends that are transparent and biodegradable. Elastomeric and transparency are controlled by the domain size. PLA-BDF blends up to a threshold BDF concentration providing elastomeric properties show no evidence of BDF crystallisation. Heat treatment weakens the PLA-BDF interaction, give BDF molecules mobility to interact with nearby BDF molecules, leading to BDF nano-crystallisation. Experiments. PLA-BDF blends were synthesised by hot-melt processing by mixing pure PLA with different concentrations of BDF (0–40 wt%) at 180 °C for 13 min. One set of blends was annealed at 50 °C for 24 h and compared with the unannealed set. The BDF crystallisation in the blends is studied by combining SAXS, SEM, XRD and Polarised Optical Microscopy. Monte-Carlo simulations were performed to validate SAXS data analysis. Findings. Unannealed PLA-BDF blends of up to the threshold of 20 wt% BDF are dominated by the semicrystalline behaviour of PLA, without any trace of BDF crystallisation. Surprisingly, the PLA-BDF 40 wt% blend shows BDF crystallisation in the form of large and nanoscale structures bonded together by weak interparticle interaction. At concentrations up to 20 wt%, the BDF molecules are homogenously dispersed and bonded with PLA. Increasing BDF to 40 wt% brings the BDF molecules close enough to crystallise at room temperature, as the BDF molecules are still bonded with the PLA network. Annealing of PLA-BDF blends led to BDF nanocrystallisation and self-assembling in the PLA network. Both BDF nanoparticle size and interparticle distance decrease as the BDF concentration increases. However, the number density of BDF nanocrystals increases. The formed BDF nanocrystals have size ranging between 100 and 380 Å with interparticle distance of 120–180 Å. The structure factor and potential mean force confirm the strong interparticle interaction at the higher BDF concentration. Heat treatment weakens the PLA -BDF interaction, which provides mobility to the BDF molecules to change conformation and interact with the nearby BDF molecules, leading to BDF crystallisation. This novel BDF crystallisation and self-assembly mechanism can be used to develop biodegradable shape memory PLA blends for biomedical, shape memory, packaging and energy applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1842-1851
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue numberPart 2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022


  • Bis-O-feruloyl-1,4-butanediol
  • Crystallisation
  • Ferulic Acid
  • Polylactic acid
  • Self-assembly
  • Small angle X-ray scattering

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