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      New Developments in Biodegradable Starch-based Nanocomposites


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          This contribution outlines the new developments in thermoplastic starch-based (nano)composites useful for more specific applications compatible with our environment, partially based on our ongoing research over the past few years. Accordingly, melt-intercalating starch macromomolecules into layered silicates (e.g., natural clays) has proved to be an efficient way for preparation of thermoplastic starch-layered silicate nanocomposites with interesting thermo-mechanical properties, as well as improved solvent-resistance. Cellulosic (nano)whiskers were also added as another environmentally benign (nano)filler in starch-based compositions. The design of such thermoplastic starch-based (nano)composites with enhanced properties relies upon the control over the phase behavior and morphology of the nanofiller within the matrix by more defined interfacial compatibility as well as by fine tuning of processing parameters. A special emphasis was also given to the introduction of layered silicates (nano)filler in biodegradable melt-blends made of hydrophilic thermoplastic starch and hydrophobic biodegradable polyesters as a valuable way to increase the compatibility between the two polymeric partners.

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          Polymer-layered silicate nanocomposites: preparation, properties and uses of a new class of materials

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            Review of recent research into cellulosic whiskers, their properties and their application in nanocomposite field.

            There are numerous examples where animals or plants synthesize extracellular high-performance skeletal biocomposites consisting of a matrix reinforced by fibrous biopolymers. Cellulose, the world's most abundant natural, renewable, biodegradable polymer, is a classical example of these reinforcing elements, which occur as whisker-like microfibrils that are biosynthesized and deposited in a continuous fashion. In many cases, this mode of biogenesis leads to crystalline microfibrils that are almost defect-free, with the consequence of axial physical properties approaching those of perfect crystals. This quite "primitive" polymer can be used to create high performance nanocomposites presenting outstanding properties. This reinforcing capability results from the intrinsic chemical nature of cellulose and from its hierarchical structure. Aqueous suspensions of cellulose crystallites can be prepared by acid hydrolysis of cellulose. The object of this treatment is to dissolve away regions of low lateral order so that the water-insoluble, highly crystalline residue may be converted into a stable suspension by subsequent vigorous mechanical shearing action. During the past decade, many works have been devoted to mimic biocomposites by blending cellulose whiskers from different sources with polymer matrixes.
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              Biodegradable polymers for the environment.

              Biodegradable polymers are designed to degrade upon disposal by the action of living organisms. Extraordinary progress has been made in the development of practical processes and products from polymers such as starch, cellulose, and lactic acid. The need to create alternative biodegradable water-soluble polymers for down-the-drain products such as detergents and cosmetics has taken on increasing importance. Consumers have, however, thus far attached little or no added value to the property of biodegradability, forcing industry to compete head-to-head on a cost-performance basis with existing familiar products. In addition, no suitable infrastructure for the disposal of biodegradable materials exists as yet.

                Author and article information

                International Polymer Processing
                Carl Hanser Verlag
                : 22
                : 5
                : 463-470
                1 Center of Innovation and Research in Materials & Polymers (CIRMAP), Laboratory of Polymer and Composite Materials, University of Mons-Hainaut/Materia Nova, Mons, Belgium
                2 Department of Chemical Engineering & Material Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
                3 Ecoles des Mines de Douai, Douai, France
                Author notes
                Mail address: Philippe Dubois, Center of Innovation and Research in Materials & Polymers (CIRMAP), Laboratory of Polymer and Composite Materials, University of Mons-Hainaut/Materia Nova, Place du Parc 20, B-7000 Mons, Belgium. E-mail: philippe.dubois@ 123456umh.ac.be
                © 2007, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich
                : 16 May 2007
                : 4 September 2007
                Page count
                References: 53, Pages: 8
                Invited Papers

                Polymer science,Materials technology,Materials characterization,General engineering,Polymer chemistry


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