Submitted to: Polymer Composites
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2012
Publication Date: 6/1/2012
Citation: Kim, S., Peterson, S.C. 2012. Development of degradable polymer composites from starch and poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate). Polymer Composites. 33(6):904-911. Interpretive Summary: Degradable polymers have attracted increasing attention over the last two decades because of our environmental concerns. Recently, many research groups have concentrated on the development of biodegradable polymer blends or composites from agricultural commodities. This report introduces a new method for the production of degradable polymer composites. Poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate)s are biodegradable materials that have been widely used for super glue, surgical glues, nanoparticle drug delivery, and so forth due to their simple, fast, and catalyst-free polymerization characteristics. However, the potential of these polymers for the fabrication of polymer composites has not been recognized yet. This research describes a new method for the production of degradable polymer composites from starch and poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate). The compressive strength of the produced composite is comparable to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and higher than most common commercial polymers, such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene syrene), polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polycarbonate. Scientists and manufacturers in industry and academia developing new polymer materials would benefit from this work.
Technical Abstract: This report describes the development of degradable polymer composites that can be made at room temperature without special equipments. The developed composites were made from poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate) and starch. Alkyl cyanoacrylate monomers were mixed with starch and the polymerization reaction of these monomers was initiated by dissociated OH- ions from moisture on the surface of the starch. After the polymerization, the body of starch granules acts as filler and the micrometer-scale gaps formed by starch granules are filled with the poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate). The reaction time of the polymerization was adjustable by controlling the moisture content of the starch granules. The polymer composites produced by this procedure contain 50-64 wt% of starch with compressive strengths of 80 ('10) MPa. Compressive strength, yield strength, and compressive modulus were slightly lowered as the content of starch in the composite was increased. Optimum starch concentration for these composites was approximately 60% by weight, since sedimentation of the starch occurred at lower concentrations and shear-thickening behavior during mixing occurred at higher concentrations.