Quantitative nanomechanical investigation on deformation of poly(lactic acid)

Hao Liu, Na Chen, So Fujinami, Dmitri Louzguine-Luzgin, Ken Nakajima, Toshio Nishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This work deals with the tensile drawing behavior of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) in the amorphous state at room temperature. Nanomechanical mapping method is applied to obtain the submicrometer morphology together with mechanical properties using atomic force microscopy (AFM). By carefully collecting the data of PLA specimens deformed with different elongation, we managed to monitor the microscopic structural/mechanical evolution simultaneously, and thus, the microscopic deformation mechanism was studied phenomenologically. The PLA matrix shows a highly heterogeneous response to the external stress. The stress is concentrated in some preferential places, thereby leading to high local Young's modulus and giving rise to crazes perpendicular to the tensile direction. However, in the position away from the crazes, the matrix undergoes no stress and shows similar Young's modulus as neat PLA specimens. The inhomogeneous stress distribution results in the catastrophic fracture of the matrix at an early state, which could explain the brittle nature of PLA at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8770-8779
Number of pages10
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov 13


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