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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #263759

Title: Preparation and properties of water and glycerol-plasticized sugar beet pulp plastics

item LIU, BO - Washington State University
item ZHANG, JINWEN - Washington State University
item Liu, Linshu
item Hotchkiss, Arland

Submitted to: Polymers and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2011
Publication Date: 6/24/2011
Citation: Liu, B., Zhang, J., Liu, L.S., Hotchkiss, A.T. 2011. Preparation and properties of water and glycerol-plasticized sugar beet pulp plastics. Polymers and the Environment. 19:559-567.

Interpretive Summary: Millions of tons of sugar beet pulp (SBP) are generated annually by U.S. beet sugar industries. Finding new uses for this biodegradable, agricultural byproduct is critical for the long term economic viability of U.S. agribusiness. In this study, we developed a new structural material from SBP and glycerol aqueous solution by extrusion using a twin-screw extruder followed by injection molding. The dried structures thus obtained were able to possess the mechanical properties similar to low density polyethylene. The novel structures can function as light weight-bearing construction materials, which would use up to 98% SBP and benefit sugar beet growers and beet sugar processors.

Technical Abstract: Sugar beet pulp (SBP), the residue from sugar extraction, was compounded and turned into thermoplastic composite materials. The compounding was performed using a common twin screw compounding extruder and water and glycerol were used as plasticizers. The plasticization of SBP utilized the water-soluble characteristics of pectin which is one of main components of SBP. Under extrusion processing, the structure of SBP was destroyed and pectin was partially released, gelatinized and further plasticized by hot water and glycerol. Effects of water and glycerol on rheological, mechanical and thermal properties of injection molded SBP plastics were investigated.