Mechanical properties of polylactide after repeated cleanings

David Karst, Michelle Hain, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The ability of polylactide (PLA) to retain its mechanical properties after repeated cleanings at various pH levels, washing temperatures, and drying conditions has been studied. One of the problems with PLA is its poor resistance to hydrolysis, especially under alkaline conditions. In this study, PLA fabrics were sent through 50 cleaning cycles with different pH levels (8 or 10), washing temperatures (35 or 55°C), and drying conditions (air dry at 21°C/65% relative humidity or tumble dry at 50 or 700C). The retention percentages of the breaking tenacity, breaking elongation, and modulus of the PLA yarns were measured after every 10 cleaning cycles. A pH of 8 gave greater breaking tenacity, breaking elongation, and modulus retention than pH 10. Washing PLA at 35°C and air drying it at 21°C resulted in greater modulus retention than washing and drying at higher temperatures. Hydrolysis of the polymer was the main cause of the loss in mechanical properties. Equations were developed to predict the retention percentage of the breaking tenacity, breaking elongation, and modulus based on the pH, number of cleaning cycles, and washing and drying temperatures. Recommendations for appropriate conditions for the cleaning of PLA fabrics that result in greater mechanical property retention are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2150-2155
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 15 2008


  • Biofibers
  • Biopolymers
  • Degradation
  • Mechanical properties
  • Renewable resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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