Materials from biobased polymers are considered by the EU to be of high priority. Accordingly, the research project PLANOM aims at a use of polylactides for optical applications like lenses, reflectors or light guides, where it is supposed to replace poly(methyl methacrylate) and polycarbonate. Our group contributes to this project with two topics: (i) Polymers, predominantly polylactides and colloidal or polymeric additives will be characterized by means of light scattering or Fraunhofer diffraction. These characterization techniques reveal the molar mass and or the size of the respective particles and make available structure-property relationships in the context of an application of the analysed samples in materials. (ii) The melting and crystallization pattern of the polylactide-based materials developed by the project partners is investigated in detail by means of a home-built small-angle light scattering (SALS) device. At the center of these investigations is the impact of additives to or irradiation of the prepared materials on the crystallization behavior and on the envisioned optical applications. SALS makes accessible a time-resolved recording of the evolution or melting of crystals. It is these crystals which governs the morphology of the polylactide-based materials including their optical properties. Complementing X-ray measurements on selected samples will provide supplementary information on the crystalline phase of the polylactide crystals.
Schmidt, N. et al. Phase Transformation Behavior of Polylactide Probed by Small Angle Light Scattering and Calorimetry J. Polymer. Sci., Part B: Polym. Physics (2019) 57, 1483-1495