Poly(lactic acid) Matrix Reinforced with Diatomaceous Earth

Materials (Basel). 2022 Sep 7;15(18):6210. doi: 10.3390/ma15186210.


The poly(lactic acid) (PLA) biodegradable polymer, as well as natural, siliceous reinforcement in the form of diatomaceous earth, fit perfectly into the circular economy trend. In this study, various kinds of commercial PLA have been reinforced with diatomaceous earth (DE) to prepare biodegradable composites via the extrusion process. The structure of the manufactured composites as well as adhesion between the matrix and the filler were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analyses were carried out to determine crystallinity of PLA matrix as function of DE additions. Additionally, the effect of the ceramic-based reinforcement on the mechanical properties (Young's modulus, elongation to failure, ultimate tensile strength) of PLA has been investigated. The results are discussed in terms of possible applications of PLA + DE composites.

Keywords: PLA composites; biodegradable composites; diatomaceous earth; extrusion.