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

Yunzi Hu, Walid A. Daoud, Bin Fei, Lei Chen, Tsz Him Kwan, Carol Sze Ki Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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