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Starch esters with improved mechanical properties through melt compounding with nanoclays

: Nejad, M.H.; Ganster, J.; Volkert, B.


Journal of applied polymer science 118 (2010), No.1, pp.503-510
ISSN: 0021-8995
ISSN: 1097-4628
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Biobased nanocomposites were manufactured through the melt intercalation of nanoclays and starch esters synthesized at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (TAP) from high amylose starch. Starch acetates (SAs) and starch propionates (SPs) were tested in combination with glycerol triacetate (triacetin) as a plasticizer for concentrations up to 30 and 20 wt %, respectively, with different types of organomodified and unmodified montmorillonites (MMTs). The mechanical properties of injection-molded test bars were determined by a tensile experiment giving the strength, modulus, and elongation of the composites. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to study clay dispersion and intercalation/exfoliation. Dynamic mechanical analysis was used to track the temperature dependence of the storage modulus and tan delta behavior of the starch/clay hybrid. Because they were the best performing compositions, SP with 5 wt % plasticizer and SA with 20 wt % plasticizer were filled with 5 wt % nanoclay. For SP, a certain increase in modulus was observed for all clays. However, the strength was practically unchanged, and the elongation decreased in most cases. One exception was found for the 2.5 wt % organomodified clay composition, where the elongation increased. For SA, the addition of 5 wt % nanoclay always increased the strength and modulus, in one case up to 60 and 75%, respectively. In the particular case with 5 wt % unmodified clay, the strength, modulus, and elongation increased by 30, 40, and 1000%, respectively. This was a dramatic improvement in the ductility of the material without losses in the strength and stiffness. XRD and TEM revealed the existence of exfoliated modified clay throughout the starch matrix, whereas for the unmodified case (with the exceptional increase in the elongation), no intercalation was observed.