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Electron Beam-Mediated Cross-Linking of Blown Film-Extruded Biodegradable PGA/PBAT Blends toward High Toughness and Low Oxygen Permeation

Samantaray, Paresh Kumar and Ellingford, Christopher and Farris, Stefano and O’Sullivan, Donal and Tan, Bowen and Sun, Zhaoyang and McNally, Tony and Wan, Chaoying (2022) Electron Beam-Mediated Cross-Linking of Blown Film-Extruded Biodegradable PGA/PBAT Blends toward High Toughness and Low Oxygen Permeation. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 10 (3). pp. 1267-1276. ISSN 2168-0485. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c07376.

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Due to its high crystallinity, tailored compostability, and superior barrier performance, poly(glycolic acid) (PGA) has great potential as a substitute for current single-use plastics used in food packaging applications and with a lower carbon footprint. However, its susceptibility to hydrolysis and mechanical brittleness hinders its direct suitability in packaging. In this work, we circumvent this limitation by first blending PGA with a thermoplastic polyester, poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT), and a glycidyl cross-linker via industrial-scale twin-screw extrusion and then converting to a film by blown film extrusion. The surface of the films was then chemically cross-linked using electron beam treatment (EBT) to impart excellent barrier properties. Here, the electron beam plays a dual role. Firstly, it cross-links the surface of the films and improves the oxygen and moisture barrier performance, both improved due to blending with PBAT. Second, it does not compromise the toughness or extension at break of the polymer blend, both desirable for flexible packaging applications. A dosage of 250 kGy EBT resulted in the film having an oxygen barrier permeation of 57.0–59.8 cm³ mm m⁻² 24 h⁻¹ atm⁻¹ and a water vapor permeation of 26.8 g m⁻² 24 h⁻¹ while maintaining a high toughness of 75 MPa. At dosages higher than 300 kGy, inhomogeneities formed on the surface of the films and some degradation in the mechanical properties of the films is observed. This work highlights the possibility of deriving superior biopolymer barrier performance while retaining the mechanical properties required for food packaging using a combination of blending and electron beam treatment, both scalable processes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Samantaray, Paresh Kumar0000-0003-2533-929X
Ellingford, Christopher0000-0002-7162-9143
Farris, Stefano0000-0002-6423-8443
O’Sullivan, Donal0000-0002-4959-9179
McNally, Tony0000-0001-5436-4211
Wan, Chaoying0000-0002-1079-5885
Additional Information:© 2022 American Chemical Society. Received 30 October 2021. Revised 30 December 2021. Published online 10 January 2022. Published in issue 24 January 2022. The authors acknowledge PJIM Polymer Scientific Co., Ltd. for funding this project. C.W. is thankful for the support of the RSC International Exchange Scheme (IEC\NSFC\191291). P.K.S. acknowledges Martin Worrall for his processing insights in blend preparation. Author Contributions. P.K.S. and C.E. contributed equally to this work. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
PJIM Polymer Scientific Co., LtdUNSPECIFIED
Royal Society of ChemistryIEC\NSFC\191291
Subject Keywords:electron beam treatment; blown film extrusion; gas barrier; PGA blend; compostable bioplastic packaging
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220202-544281000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Electron Beam-Mediated Cross-Linking of Blown Film-Extruded Biodegradable PGA/PBAT Blends toward High Toughness and Low Oxygen Permeation Paresh Kumar Samantaray, Christopher Ellingford, Stefano Farris, Donal O’Sullivan, Bowen Tan, Zhaoyang Sun, Tony McNally, and Chaoying Wan ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2022 10 (3), 1267-1276 DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c07376
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113235
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:02 Feb 2022 23:08
Last Modified:02 Feb 2022 23:08

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