Submitted to: UJNR Food & Agricultural Panel Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 20, 2007
Publication Date: October 21, 2007
Citation: Onwulata, C.I., Tomasula, P.M. 2007. Processing of reactively-mixed molded dairy-based biocomposites. UJNR Food & Agricultural Panel Proceedings. P. 145-148. Technical Abstract: The growing demand for environmentally friendly/biodegradable materials is driving the research for the use of agriculturally-derived materials in composites. Dairy proteins have properties similar to some plastics and may be suitable in biocomposite products; however, they are not as strong mechanically unless modified. In this study, we combined whey protein isolates and casein (40%), corn starch (30%), glycerol (10%), cellulose (5%), and water (15%) with Acetic Acid (AA) in quantities ranging from 0 to 7.5 wt% to form the dairy-based plastics (DBP). To enhance the structural properties of DBP, the various materials were compounded with roller blades in a torque rheometer for 45 min at preset initial temperatures of 35 or 70 deg C, respectively. The effects of compounding on the microstructural properties of the molded DBP are reported. The reactivity of DBP with AA was dependent on the concentration of AA with an apparent optimum around 1.875 wt%; temperature dependence favored the higher temperature (70 deg C). These products performed better than those mixed at 35 deg C, indicating stronger interactions between starch and protein mixed with AA at 70 deg C., as evidenced by microstructural network spacing.