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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319655

Research Project: Bioproducts from Agricultural Feedstocks

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Properties of thermoplastic starch and TPS/polycaprolactone blend reinforced with sisal whiskers using extrusion processing

item CAMPOS, ADRIANA - Embrapa
item CORREA, ANA - Embrapa
item MARCONCINI, JOSE - Embrapa
item Wood, Delilah - De
item Williams, Tina

Submitted to: Polymer Engineering & Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2012
Publication Date: 9/27/2012
Citation: Campos, A., Teodoro, K.B., Teixeira, E.M., Correa, A.C., Marconcini, J.M., Wood, D.F., Williams, T.G. 2012. Properties of thermoplastic starch and TPS/polycaprolactone blend reinforced with sisal whiskers using extrusion processing. Polymer Engineering & Science. 53(4):800-808.

Interpretive Summary: There is considerable interest in replacing synthetic and nonbiodegradable polymers with biodegradable polymers that have good functional properties. Although existing biodegradable polymers are expensive, blends of these polymers with natural, renewable polymers, such as starch and fibers, provides alternatives to synthetic polymers. Sisal nano fibers (whiskers) were prepared for evaluation as reinforcing material in thermoplastic starch (TPS)/polycaprolactone (PCL) blends. The addition of the sisal whiskers in the blends increased the biodegradability of TPS and TPS/PCL blends.

Technical Abstract: Sisal whiskers (SW) were prepared by acid hydrolysis for subsequent evaluation as reinforcing material for biodegradable matrices of thermoplastic starch (TPS) and TPS/polycaprolactone (TPS/PCL) blends. The acid hydrolyzed SW had dimensions of 5±2 nm in diameter and 210±60 nm in length and 78% crystallinity. The nanocomposite blends consisted of whisker contents of 5 and 10 wt% and were coextruded with either TPS or TPS/PCL which formed the matrix material. The influence of SW on the morphology, crystallinity, thermal properties, mechanical behavior, structural, and biodegradation of TPS and TPS/PCL matrices were investigated. The lower SW content of 5 wt% dispersed and interacted well with both matrices. The introduction of PCL in the TPS matrix leads to an increased crystallinity and there was evidence that the carbonyl groups of PCL interacted with the OH groups on the surface of the whiskers. Addition of PCL decreased the whisker/whisker interaction over TPS alone, favoring the dispersion of the whiskers in the matrix and, consequently, the reinforcement effect was more pronounced in TPS/PCL blends than in the pure TPS matrix. The addition of the whiskers as reinforcement increased the biodegradability of TPS and TPS/PCL matrices.