Plant-based materials have found their application in the packaging with a yearly growing production rate. These naturally biodegradable polymers are obtained from renewable and sustainable natural resources with reduced environmental impact and affordable cost. These materials have found their utilization in fully-renewable plant-based packaging products, such as Tetra Pak®-like containers, by replacing commonly-used polyethylene as the polymer component. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is one of the representative plant-based polymers because of its eco-friendliness and excellent chemical and mechanical properties. In this work, a PLA surface was modified by various food additives, namely ascorbic acid (ASA) and fumaric acid (FA), using plasma-initiated grafting reactions in order to improve the surface and adhesion properties of PLA. Various analytical and microscopic techniques were employed to prove the grafting process. Moreover, the improved adhesion of the modified PLA foil to aluminum (Al) foil in a laminate configuration was proven by peel resistance measurements. The peel resistance of modified PLA increased by 74% and 184% for samples modified by ASA and FA, respectively, compared with untreated PLA.
Keywords: PLA; adhesion; ascorbic acid; fumaric acid; grafting; plasma treatment; poly(lactic acid); wettability.