Materials Engineering Department
BS in Materials Engineering
Society’s overuse of petroleum-based plastic products has created a waste problem that is threatening environments around the world. New efforts have been made to find a suitable replacement derived from a renewable source. Poly-lactic acid has become one of the front-runners in this search. It is derived from starches found in potatoes, corn, and other grains. There are many factors that make Poly-lactic acid-based polymers a suitable replacement for petroleum-based ones, but it still suffers from low mechanical strength due to low crystallinity percentages. Doping the polymer with nanocrystalline cellulose provides more nucleation sites for the crystallization of the polymer than provided by homogeneous nucleation. The results of this doping are analyzed by mechanical tensile testing and Differential Scanning Calorimetry testing.