Submitted to: Macromolecular Symposium
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2003
Publication Date: 7/20/2003
Citation: CINELLI, P., CHIELLINI, E., GORDON, S.H., IMAM, S.H. CHARACTERISTICS AND DEGRADATION OF HYBRID COMPOSITE FILMS PREPARED FROM PVA, STARCH AND LIGNOCELLULOSTICS. MACROMOLECULAR SYMPOSIA. 2003. v. 197. p. 143-155. Interpretive Summary: Agriculturally derived fibers are low in value and have only limited applications.These fibers, however, could be an excellent source of raw material for many single-use biodegradable consumer products, which are currently manufactured using petrochemicals. Attempts were made to understand the chemical, mechanical and processing properties of agricultural fibers as well as their interaction with other biopolymers and fillers in the sucessful design and development of plastic-like composite films for mulch application. Utilization of agriculturally derived fibers in consumer products will help U.S. farmers and grain processors, and will provide an alternative to petrochemicals.
Technical Abstract: A research cooperation between USDA and the University of Pisa led to the development of several composite blends of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and lignocellulosic fibers. The cast films were prepared by blending orange fibers (OR-fibers) and PVA with and without constarch to yield flexible and cohesive films. To improve properties, films were prepared by crosslinking PVA, starch and OR-fibers with hexamethoxymethylmelamine (HMMM). Films were evaluated for their thermal stability, water permeability and biodegradation. Thermal gravimatric analyses indicated the potential usefulness of such blends in several thermoplastic applications. Films were permeable to water, and retained the moisture content in the soil while retaining their integrity. Films generally biodegraded within 30 days in compost, achieving between 50-80% mineralization. Both neat PVA and blends that had been crosslinked showed comparatively slow degradation. A possible stimulating effect of lignocellulosic fillers on the biodegradation of PVA in blends has been observed.