Accelerated hydrolysis of PLA fibers at low temperature
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The polylactide (PLA) is the most common biodegradable material. However, its biodegradation requires hydrolysis of PLA to oligomers or monomers before microbes can act. Hydrolytic degradation of PLA depends on temperature, time and relative humidity. It takes months and years until complete biodegradation. If a catalyst is introduced, i.e. alkali or alcohol, it can be done in weeks. In this article, the alkaline hydrolysis was performed at low temperatures 40-60°C without and with the addition of cationic compound as an accelerator for the purpose of saving energy and time for complete PLA degradation. It has been shown that complete degradation can be achieved in only 10 min at 40°C.