Start Date: Jun 16, 2009
End Date: Sep 30, 2010
Starch will be blended with other polymers to produce resins with useful functional properties for making renewable products. Blend compatibility will be enhanced by use of starch derivatives and compatibilizers. Resins will be molded into marketable items using current and novel processing technologies, accompanied by physical and mechanical testing.Fiber reinforced packaging materials will be made via a foam-baking process, extrusion, injection molding and thermoforming. Advantageous functional properties of agriculturally-derived fibers used in these packages will be correlated to fiber length, aspect ratio, freeness, surface properties, and miscibility. Ag-derived fibers will be pulped using novel procedures, such as hot-compressed water (HCW) treatment, an environmentally friendly method of isolating cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose via super-heated water. Processed fibers will be optimized by chemical, enzymatic and chemoenzymatic modification. Methods for isolating and characterizing cellulose microfibrils as nanocomposites will be developed/exploited. Formerly 5325-41000-039-00D (6/04); combining 5325-41000-047-00D (7/08); Replacing 5325-41000-044-00D (2/10).