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Mechanical Recycling of Partially Bio-Based and Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate Blends by Reactive Extrusion with Poly(styrene-co-glycidyl methacrylate)

AuthorsMontava-Jorda, Sergi; Lascano, Diego; Quiles-Carrillo, Luis; Montanes, Néstor; Boronat, Teodomiro; Martínez-Sanz, Antonio V.; Ferrándiz-Bou, Santiago; Torres-Giner, Sergio
Chain extenders
Reactive extrusion
Secondary recycling
Food packaging
Issue Date9-Jan-2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationPolymers 12 (1): 174 (2020)
AbstractIn the present study, partially bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (bio-PET) was melt-mixed at 15–45 wt% with recycled polyethylene terephthalate (r-PET) obtained from remnants of the injection blowing process of contaminant-free food-use bottles. The resultant compounded materials were thereafter shaped into pieces by injection molding for characterization. Poly(styrene-co-glycidyl methacrylate) (PS-co-GMA) was added at 1–5 parts per hundred resin (phr) of polyester blend during the extrusion process to counteract the ductility and toughness reduction that occurred in the bio-PET pieces after the incorporation of r-PET. This random copolymer effectively acted as a chain extender in the polyester blend, resulting in injection-molded pieces with slightly higher mechanical resistance properties and nearly the same ductility and toughness than those of neat bio-PET. In particular, for the polyester blend containing 45 wt% of r-PET, elongation at break (εb) increased from 10.8% to 378.8% after the addition of 5 phr of PS-co-GMA, while impact strength also improved from 1.84 kJ·m−2 to 2.52 kJ·m−2. The mechanical enhancement attained was related to the formation of branched and larger macromolecules by a mechanism of chain extension based on the reaction of the multiple glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) groups present in PS-co-GMA with the hydroxyl (–OH) and carboxyl (–COOH) terminal groups of both bio-PET and r-PET. Furthermore, all the polyester blend pieces showed thermal and dimensional stabilities similar to those of neat bio-PET, remaining stable up to more than 400 °C. Therefore, the use low contents of the tested multi-functional copolymer can successfully restore the properties of bio-based but non-biodegradable polyesters during melt reprocessing with their recycled petrochemical counterparts and an effective mechanical recycling is achieved.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010174
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