Cardanol (CD), derived from renewable natural cashew nutshell liquid, has been used as a new plasticizer for polylactide (PLA), to create blends which retain the environmentally friendly features of PLA. The differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results all reveal that PLA and CD show good miscibility at low CD content. CD significantly decreased the glass transition temperature and enhanced the crystallization ability of PLA, demonstrating good plasticizing efficiency with PLA. At 10 wt% CD, ultimate elongation and impact toughness increased to 472% and 9.4 kJ m-2, respectively, which represented improvements of 31-fold and 2.6-fold over the corresponding measurements for neat PLA. The plasticization effect of CD was also demonstrated by the decreased melt complex viscosity and shear storage modulus at lower CD content for the blends when compared with neat PLA. Thus, the investigated CD presents an interesting candidate for a PLA plasticizer, meeting "double green" criteria. No cytotoxicity was found for the blends and hence they may be suitable for biomedical applications.
Kang, H., Li, Y., Gong, M., Guo, Y., Guo, Z., Fang, Q., & Li, X. (2018). An environmentally sustainable plasticizer toughened polylactide. RSC Advances, 8(21), 11643–11651. https://doi.org/10.1039/c7ra13448g