Recently a novel thermochromic poly(lactic acid) (PLA)-composite material was presented. Depending on temperature the incorporated anthocyanidin dye was found to be present either in its neutral or anionic anhydrobase form. A reversible formation of PLA-dye complexes triggered by conformational changes of the polymer backbone was proposed to explain this thermochromic effect. In order to study the influence of the dye structure on the PLA-dye complex formation and on the thermochromic properties of the PLA-composite material a variation of the anthocyanidin dye structure was investigated. The results indicate that a hydroxyl group in 3’-position of the anthocyanidin dye resulting in the presence of adjacent hydroxyl groups is mandatory for the PLA-anthocyanidin dye complex formation and thus for the occurrence of thermochromism.
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