Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/5/2010
Publication Date: 1/1/2011
Publication URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/48890
Citation: Kumar, P., Sandeep, K.P., Alawi, S., Truong, V. 2011. A review of experimental and modeling techniques to determine properties of biopolymer-based nanocomposites. Journal of Food Science. 76(1):E2-E14. Interpretive Summary: The non-degradable and non-renewable nature of plastic packaging has led to a renewed interest in packaging materials based on biopolymers such as proteins, starch, cellulose and other polysaccharides derived from renewable sources. This paper reviews experimental and modeling techniques to determine properties of bio-nanocomposites. Selection of proper technique to determine properties of these bio-nanocomposites is very critical in assessing their performance. The review also describes mathematical modeling of mechanical and barrier properties (e. g. tensile strength, percent elongation, water vapor and oxygen permeability) of bio-nanocomposites which can help in better understanding the mechanism for improved properties of bio-degradable films.
Technical Abstract: The nonbiodegradable and nonrenewable nature of plastic packaging has led to a renewed interest in packaging materials based on bio-nanocomposites (biopolymer matrix reinforced with nanoparticles such as layered silicates). One of the reasons for unique properties of bio-nanocomposites is the difference in physics at nanoscale as compared to that at macroscale. Therefore, the effect of nanoscale on the properties of bio-nanocomposites is discussed. Properties of bio-nanocomposites are governed by the extent of dispersion of nanoparticles in the biopolymer matrix and interaction between nanoparticles and the biopolymer. Selection of proper technique to determine properties of these bio-nanocomposites is very critical in assessing their performance. Experimental techniques (tensile testing, barrier property measurement, dynamic mechanical analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, rheological measurement) to determine the mechanical, barrier, thermal, and rheological properties of bio-nanocomposites are discussed in terms of methodology, interpretation of results, and application in studying the properties of bio-nanocomposites. Mathematical modeling plays an important role in predicting the properties of bio-nanocomposites and comparing them to the measured properties. This comparison helps in better understanding the mechanism for much improved properties of bio-nanocomposites. Mathematical modeling is also helpful in understanding the effects of different parameters on the properties of bio-nanocomposites. Therefore, the article describes mathematical modeling of mechanical and barrier properties of bio-nanocomposites using analytical micromechanics.