Journal of Polymer Research, 2016, vol 23, 12, pp. 261
The inherent brittleness of biodegradable polylactide (PLA) limits its large-scale applications. A common route for toughening PLA is to incorporate other components by blending. In achieving good toughness, however, other properties such as strength and transparency are usually sacrificed to a large extent. Here we presented a facile approach to toughen PLA with nanopores. By tailoring solution phase separation abundant nanopores with size of about 30 nm was achieved in the PLA films. The presence of nanopores significantly enhanced tensile toughness to about 67 MJ/m3, and good strength and high transparency were retained. Both multiple crazing and shear yielding were contributed to the remarkable toughness improvement. Our approach, advantageous over other routes, opens new opportunities to fabricate tough PLA with a better balance of comprehensive properties.