The use of mixtures of synthetic and natural polymers is a potential option to reduce the pollution by plastic waste. In this work, the method for the chemical modification of chitosan with poly(lactic acid) was developed; then, the preparation of films of blends of polyethylene and chitosan-poly(lactic acid) produced by an extrusion method using polyethylene-graft maleic anhydride as a compatibilizer. It was possible to obtain films with a maximum content of 20 wt% and 30 wt%, chitosan, with and without compatibilizer, respectively. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis showed a homogeneous surface on all films. The addition of the compatibilizer had a significant effect on the mechanical properties of the films, such as an increase in Young's modulus and a decrease in the elongation at break; additionally, the compatibilizer promotes thermal degradation in a single step and gives the film a slight increase in thermal resistance. These results are attributed to an improved interaction in the interface of polyethylene and chitosan-poly(lactic acid), promoted by the compatibilizer.
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© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Maleic anhydride
- Poly(lactic acid)