Submitted to: Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Starch-based loose-fill packaging foam is a commercially successful product, garnering approximately 15% of the estimated 110 million lbs. per year expanded polystyrene (EPS) loose-fill market. Starch, additives, and water are the components in starch-based loose-fill. The starches, used by several manufacturers, include corn, wheat, hydroxypropylated high amylose and methyl acrylated corn starch. Extrusion cooking technologies have bee adapted to produce starch-based loose-fill. Water is used as the expanding agent and plasticizer. If present, additives function as surfactants, lubricants, secondary blowing agents, and cell nucleators. Starch-based loose-fill properties are similar to EPS, especially resiliency and compressive strength, superior with respect to biological degradation, friability, and static control, but inferior with respect to bulk density. Research goals are currently targeting the reduction of bulk density without sacrificing performance. Using an integrated systems approach, extrusion process, starch materials, additives, and die geometries are being studied to understand fundamentally the complex relationship of these parameters on foam properties. Lower bulk density and improvements in foam processing will open much larger packaging markets for food and nonfood applications.