Jump to main content
Jump to site search


An experimental and theoretical study of the erosion of semi-crystalline polymers and the subsequent generation of microparticles

Author affiliations

Abstract

The increase of plastics and microplastics in the environment is a major environmental challenge. Still, little is known about the degradation kinetics of macroplastics into smaller particles, under the joint actions of micro-organisms and physico-chemical factors, like UV or mechanical constraints. In order to gain insight into (bio)-degradation in various media, we perform accelerated erosion experiments by using a well-known enzymatic system. We show that the microstructure of semi-crystalline polymers plays a crucial role in the pattern formation at their surface. For the first time, the release of fragments of micrometric size is evidenced, through a mechanism that does not involve fracture propagation. A geometric erosion model allows a quantitative understanding of erosion rates and surface patterns, and provides a critical heterogeneity size, parting two types of behavior: spherulites either released, or eroded in situ. This new geometric approach could constitute a useful tool to predict the erosion kinetics and micro-particle generation in various media.

Graphical abstract: An experimental and theoretical study of the erosion of semi-crystalline polymers and the subsequent generation of microparticles

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 22 Jul 2019, accepted on 01 Sep 2019 and first published on 02 Sep 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01482A
Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article

  •   Request permissions

    An experimental and theoretical study of the erosion of semi-crystalline polymers and the subsequent generation of microparticles

    T. Gaillard, M. George, E. Gastaldi, F. Nallet and P. Fabre, Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01482A

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements