Processing strategies were developed to manufacture poly(lactic acid) (PLA) blown films without melt strength enhancers (MSEs). The effects of processing temperature on PLA’s melt properties (shear and elongational viscosities), PLA grades, and other processing conditions [ratio of take-up roller to extruder’s rotational screw speeds or processing speed ratio (PSR) and internal air pressures] on film’s blow-up ratio were examined. Experimental results indicate that extrusion-blown amorphous and semicrystalline PLA films can be successfully manufactured without MSEs by controlling melt rheology through processing temperature and other extrusion processing conditions. PLA processed at lower extrusion temperature had higher melt viscosities, which favored the formation of stable films depending on the PSR and internal air pressure used. Inappropriate control of PSR and internal air pressure led to unstable films with various processing defects such as melt sag, bubble dancing, or draw resonance, irrespective of the lower extrusion processing temperature.
Karkhanis, Sonal S.; Stark, Nicole M.; Sabo, Ronald C.; Matuana, Laurent M. 2017. Blown film extrusion of poly(lactic acid) without melt strength enhancers. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 134(34): 45212-45222.