AcceleratedDegradation of Poly(lactide acid)/Poly(hydroxybutyrate) (PLA/PHB) Yarns/Fabrics by UV and O2 Exposure in South China Seawater

Qi Bao, Wingho Wong, Shirui Liu, Xiaoming Tao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Marine plastic pollution is emerging as a potential hazard to global ecosystems and human health. Micro-fibers derived from synthetic textiles contribute a considerable proportion of plastic debris. Bio-polymers/bio-plastics have been proposed for the application of apparel products, yet their degradability, fate, durability and related environmental parameters are still elusive and need further exploration. Herein, we report the degradation behavior of poly(lactide acid)/poly(hydroxybutyrate) (PLA/PHB) fabrics, made from PLA/PHB multi-filament yarns, in subtropics marine seawater. The degradation experiments were performed under various parallel conditions including static seawater, aerobic seawater in dark box, aerobic seawater under sunlight, static seawater under ultra-violet light and aerobic seawater under ultra-violet light. Continuous mass loss of PLA/PHB fabrics as the immersion time in the seawater increased was confirmed. The hydrolysis rate of PLA/PHB fabrics accelerated in the presence of UV light and dissolved oxygen in the seawater. Moreover, the tensile strength of the PLA/PHB yarns dropped rapidly by 38.54–68.70% in spite of the mass loss percentage being from 9.57% to 14.48% after 2 weeks’ immersion. All the PLA/PHB fabrics after two weeks’ immersion exhibited similar ATR-IR spectra. Therefore, the degradability of PLA/PHB fabrics, in the marine surface water under the synergistic destructive effect of seawater, UV and dissolved oxygen, provides a pathway for more sustainable textile fibers and apparel products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1216
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2022


  • Hydrolysis
  • Marine degradation
  • UV photooxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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