Submitted to: Natural Fibers, Biopolymers, and the Biocomposites
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2005
Publication Date: May 12, 2006
Citation: Chiou, B., Glenn, G.M., Imam, S.H., Inglesby, M.K., Wood, D.F., Orts, W.J. 2005. Starch polymeer: biopolymers and their biocomposites. Natural Fibers, Biopolymers, and Their Biocomposites. 639-669. Technical Abstract: Starch-based biodegradable plastics as an alternative to petroleum-based synthetic polymers have generated much interest globally, and efforts are underway to develop and produce starch-containing eco-efficient plastic products for consumer application. These efforts are in part driven by consumers¿ heightened environmental awareness, international treaties, and numerous environmental legislations. At the USDA laboratory and elsewhere, research on starch polymers has focused in several directions, which includes utilization of commodity starches in foams, composites, building materials, adhesives, and blends. Particularly, in light of recent advances made in developing novel processing techniques, optimization of engineering parameters, and better understanding of starch polymer interfacial properties, USDA scientists have successfully engineered numerous products, which include starch-based composites for disposable containers, microcellular foams for encapsulation of volatile compounds, lightweight concrete, mulch films, and wood adhesives. These starch-based products are not only completely biodegradable, but have physical and mechanical properties comparable to products made from synthetic polymers, suggesting that developing consumer products from renewable starch polymers or starch polymer blends would be a viable alternative to petrochemicals in the near future.