In this study, composites based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/talc were prepared at different compositions by melt mixing in a twin screw extruder. The effect of a nucleating agent, talc, on the crystallization behavior, rheological and morphological properties of PLA was investigated. DSC results showed that the addition of the mineral filler in the range between 1 and 5 wt. % to the PLA matrix increases the degree of crystallinity. This finding shows that talc acted as a nucleating agent for PLA during the processing stage. The composites morphology was also studied using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The micrographs showed that a good dispersion of talc was achieved in all compositions analyzed. The rheology of PLA/talc composites was evaluated with the dynamic mode and correlated with the aforementioned observed morphology. The results showed that the addition of the mineral filler to the PLA matrix decreased system viscosity, thus highlighting the filler's lubricant effect. As talc content increased, system's viscosity also increased, providing material with higher elastic behavior. Thermal analysis showed that the composition of 3 wt.% of talc added to polymer matrix seems to be interesting with regard to the need of articles possessing good dimension stability.
PLA; nucleating agent; talc; composites; properties