A thermal analysis of a series of polylactides (PLA) was carried out based on the number of average molecular mass (Mn), and the nature of isomer (D, L and DL). It is confirmed that the glass transition temperature (Tg) of PLA increased as a function of molecular mass irrespective of isomer type except sample with a high polydispersity index.
The melting temperature (Tm) and enthalpy of crystal fusion (ΔHf) of L-isomer increased as the Mn was increased from 1100 to 27500. The degree of crystallinity (χc%) increased as a function of molecular mass. However no crystallization peak was detected in the lower molecular mass range
(550–1400). The non-isothermal crystallization behavior of the PLA melt was significantly influenced by the cooling rate.
Both D and L isomers exhibited insignificant difference in thermal properties and DL lactides exhibited amorphous behavior at identical molecular masses. Change in microstructure showed significant difference
between two isomers. Analysis of the FTIR spectra of these PLA samples in the range of 1200–1230 cm−1 supported DSC observation on crystallinity.