Composite Polymer Granules Based on Poly-ε-Caprolactone and Montmorillonite Prepared by Solution-Casting and Melt Extrusion

Sukhanova, Anna; Boyandin, Anatoly; Ertiletskaya, Natalya; Shalygina, Taisia; Shabanov, Alexander; Vasiliev, Alexander; Obvertkin, Ivan; Brott, Valeria; Prokopchuk, Yulia; Samoilo, Alexander// Polymers//

Eco-friendly polymer composites in the form of granules based on biodegradable polycaprolactone (PCL) with the inclusion of montmorillonite (MMT) from 5 to 50 wt% were prepared by solution-casting and melt extrusion. The physicochemical properties of the composite granules were studied using FTIR spectroscopy, XRDA, DSC, and TGA methods. The paper presents comparative values of crystallinity of composite granules which depend on the method of measuring (XRDA, DSC). It was shown that the crystallinity of PCL/MMT granules was affected by the preparation method and by the MMT content, and that with increase in MMT content, crystallinity increased by up to 61–67%. The change in crystallinity of the granules also affected its biodegradation in soil. At the end of exposure in soil, the mass loss for the granules prepared by solution-casting was more than 90%, whereas for the composite granules prepared by extrusion it was less than 60%. Applying melt extrusion enabled obtaining intercalated composites with predictable features, whereas only mixed-structure microcomposites could be prepared by solution-casting.