Volume 23 (2007) Issue 7 Pages 871-876
The homogeneity of blends of poly((R)-3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) was evaluated by the near infrared chemical imaging (NIRCI) technique. NIRCI can nondestructively investigate a sample over a wide field of view within a few minutes to acquire a large number of spatially resolved NIR spectral data. NIRCI may be combined with multivariate analysis not only for qualitative analysis but also for statistically based quantitative analysis. The score images derived from the partial least squares regression (PLSR) analysis directly show that PHB/PLLA blends are highly homogeneous. The standard deviations (STD) of the histograms, indicating the distribution of the score values, show small values for the blends. These results qualitatively and quantitatively show the high level of homogeneity of PHB/PLLA blends. The predictions of the spatially averaged concentrations of the blend components obtained from PLSR results show values similar to the actual contents for the blends. The small errors of the predictions are also explained by STD values.