PLA architectures: the role of branching
Biobased and biodegradable polymers have become more and more interesting in view of waste management and crude oil depletion. Several biopolymers have been researched, among which poly(lactide) (PLA) seems to be the most promising. Although a lot of research has been conducted on this polymer, PLA still displays some serious drawbacks such as limited melt strength, limited toughness, a lack of functional groups etc. One possibility to overcome such problems is by introducing branching. This can be done in several ways, resulting in PLA polymers with different topologies, ranging from star-branched to long chain branched. After a general introduction, several of these topologies will be described in detail.