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Issue 38, 2017
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Effects of stereo-regularity on the single-chain mechanics of polylactic acid and its implications on the physical properties of bulk materials

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Abstract

The material properties of polylactic acid (PLA) are largely determined by its stereo-regularity (tacticity). To find out the origin at the molecular level, the single-chain mechanics of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) and poly-D,L-lactide (PDLLA) were comparatively investigated by single-molecule atomic force microscopy (AFM). At a low concentration, PLLA adopted a random-coil conformation in a good solvent. At a high concentration, however, the PLLA chain can be induced into a helix, which consumed additional energy during unfolding by further stretching. Due to the random arrangement of L- and D-repeating units in the PDLLA chain, PDLLA adopts a random-coil conformation at all concentrations. The difference in single-chain mechanics of PLLA and PDLLA at high concentrations may be the cause of their different macroscopic properties. This is the first report to reveal the stereo-regularity-dependent mechanics of a polymer at the single-molecule level, which may help to bridge the gap between understanding single-molecule and materials properties.

Graphical abstract: Effects of stereo-regularity on the single-chain mechanics of polylactic acid and its implications on the physical properties of bulk materials

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Aug 2017, accepted on 07 Sep 2017 and first published on 08 Sep 2017


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06483G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 14312-14316
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    Effects of stereo-regularity on the single-chain mechanics of polylactic acid and its implications on the physical properties of bulk materials

    B. Cheng, L. Qian, H. Qian, Z. Lu and S. Cui, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 14312
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06483G

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