Efficient ZnO aqueous nanoparticle catalysed lactide synthesis for poly(lactic acid) fibre production from food waste

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-167
Journal / PublicationJournal of Cleaner Production
Online published12 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


This study demonstrates the feasibility of poly(lactic acid) fibre production using fermentative lactic acid from food waste. Poly(lactic acid) was synthesized through ring-opening polymerization, in which the precursor lactide was produced by a novel catalytic method. Zinc oxide aqueous nanoparticle (30-40 nm) dispersion was applied as efficient catalyst due to its large surface area and rapid equilibrium between polymerization and depolymerization. Under optimal reaction conditions, lactide was produced at yields of 91-92% within 8 h, significantly improving the synthesis efficiency compared to the conventional tin-based catalytic method. The pure lactide product facilitated the conversion of food waste derived lactic acid to high molecular weight poly(lactic acid) (150,000 g mol -1 ), which was subsequently spun to fibres with promising tensile and thermal properties for potential applications in textile and bioplastics.

Research Area(s)

  • Food waste, Lactide synthesis, poly(lactic acid), Ring-opening polymerization, Zinc oxide nanoparticle

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