Thermoplastic starch/wood composites: Interfacial interactions and functional properties.

Carbohydrate polymers

PubMedID: 24507352

Müller P, Renner K, Móczó J, Fekete E, Pukánszky B. Thermoplastic starch/wood composites: Interfacial interactions and functional properties. Carbohydr Polym. 2014;102821-9.
Thermoplastic starch (TPS)/wood composites were prepared from starch plasticized with 36wt% glycerol. The components were homogenized by dry-blending, extruded and injection molded to tensile bars. Tensile properties, structure, deformation, water adsorption and shrinkage were determined as a function of wood content, which changed between 0 and 40vol% in 7 steps. The modification of TPS with wood particles improves several properties considerably. Stiffness and strength increases, and the effect is stronger for fibers with larger aspect ratio. Wood fibers reinforce TPS considerably due to poor matrix properties and strong interfacial interactions, the latter resulting in the decreased mobility of starch molecules and in the fracture of large wood particles during deformation. Strong interfacial adhesion leads to smaller water absorption than predicted from additivity, but water uptake remains relatively large even in the presence of wood particles. The shrinkage of injection molded TPS parts is very large, around 10%, and dimensional changes occur on a very long timescale of several hundred hours. Shrinkage decreases to a low level already at 15-20vol% wood content rendering the composites good dimensional stability.