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Polylactic Acid - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781437744590, 9781437744606

Polylactic Acid

1st Edition

PLA Biopolymer Technology and Applications

Author: Lee Tin Sin
Hardcover ISBN: 9781437744590
eBook ISBN: 9781437744606
Imprint: William Andrew
Published Date: 19th October 2012
Page Count: 352
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Table of Contents

  • 1. Overview of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 1.1 Background to Biodegradable Polymers
    • 1.2 Market Potential of Biodegradable Polymers and PLA
    • 1.3 General Properties and Applications of PLA
    • 1.4 Environmental Profile of PLA
    • 1.5 Ecoprofile of PLA in Mass Production
    • 1.6 Environmental Impact of PLA at the Post-Consumer Stage
    • 1.7 Conclusion
    • References
  • 2. Synthesis and Production of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Lactic Acid Production
    • 2.3 Lactide and Poly(lactic Acid) Production
    • 2.4 Conclusion
    • References
  • 3. Thermal Properties of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 Thermal Transition and Crystallization of PLA
    • 3.3 Thermal Decomposition
    • 3.4 Heat Capacity, Thermal Conductivity and Pressure–Volume–Temperature of PLA
    • 3.5 Conclusion
    • References
  • 4. Chemical Properties of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 4.1 Introduction
    • 4.2 Stereochemistry of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 4.3 Analytical Technique of PLA
    • 4.4 Solubility and Barrier Properties of PLA
    • 4.5 Conclusion
    • References
  • 5. Mechanical Properties of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 Effect of Crystallinity and Molecular Weight on Mechanical Properties of PLA
    • 5.3 Effect of Modifier/Plasticizer on PLA
    • 5.4 Polymer Blends of PLA
    • 5.5 Conclusion
    • References
  • 6. Rheological Properties of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 6.1 Introduction
    • 6.2 Rheological Properties of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 6.3 Effects of Molecular Weight
    • 6.4 Effects of Branching
    • 6.5 Extensional Viscosity
    • 6.6 Solution Viscosity of PLA
    • 6.7 Rheological Properties of Polymer Blends
    • 6.8 Conclusion
    • References
  • 7. Degradation and Stability of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Factors Affecting PLA Degradation
    • 7.3 Hydrolytic and Enzymatic Degradation of PLA
    • 7.4 Environmental Degradation of PLA
    • 7.5 Thermal Degradation of PLA
    • 7.6 Flame Resistance of PLA
    • 7.7 Conclusion
    • References
  • 8. Applications of Poly(lactic Acid)
    • 8.1 Introduction
    • 8.2 Poly(lactic Acid) for Domestic Applications
    • 8.3 Poly(lactic Acid) for Engineering and Agricultural Applications
    • 8.4 Poly(lactic Acid) for Biomedical Applications
    • 8.5 Conclusion
    • References
  • Index


Polylactic Acid (PLA) is the first viable thermoplastic that can be produced from a plant-based feedstock such as corn or sugar cane, and yet be processed by the conventional melt processing technologies. At the same time, Polylactic Acid is produced at the largest industrial scale of all biodegradable polymers. It is being used in biomedical applications, for bottle production and in compostable food packaging. It is also being evaluated as a material for tissue engineering. Mass production has tremendously reduced the cost of PLA production, making it an economically viable choice for fabrication of domestic containers, plastic bags, and fibers. Commercial-scale plants today produce hundreds of thousand tons of PLA per year.

This book provides a practical guide for the engineers and scientists involved in working with PLA and developing the many new products that are emerging for this important biopolymer. The current market situation for PLA and biodegradable polymers is described as well as applications across a range of market sectors, and the mechanical, chemical, thermal, rheology, and degradation properties of PLA.

Key Features

  • An essential reference for engineers, scientists and product designers considering switching to a sustainable plastic.
  • Covers the properties, synthesis and polymerization of PLA, and processing techniques involved in fabricating parts from this polymer.


Institutions of higher education, biodegradable companies and research institutes, government institutions involved in reduction of plastic waste, environment organisations; Institutions of readership: ICheme, IUPAC, IMechE, Society of Plastic Engineers


No. of pages:
© William Andrew 2013
19th October 2012
William Andrew
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Lee Tin Sin

Lee Tin Sin is a researcher, professional engineer and associate professor. He graduated with Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical-Polymer) First Class Honours, as well as Ph.D in Polymer Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Dr. Lee has been involved in rubber processing, biopolymer, nanocomposite and polymer synthesis with more than 70 publications of journal papers, book chapters and conferences. He was the winner of the Society of Chemical Engineers Japan Award for Outstanding Asian Researcher and Engineer 2018 for his contribution to polymer research. He co-authored ‘Polylactic Acid’ (Elsevier), the Second Edition of which published in 2019.

Affiliations and Expertise

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Malaysia