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Understanding External Plasticization of Melt Extruded PHBV-Wheat Straw Fibers Biodegradable Composites for Food Packaging

  • Martino, Lucrezia
  • Berthet, Marie-Alix
  • Coussy, Hélène
  • Gontard, Nathalie
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2015
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The objective of this work is to get further knowledge on the external plasticization mechanisms of melt extruded polyhydroxyl-3-butyrate-co-3-valerate (PHBV) when combined with wheat straw fibers (WSF). Different types of biodegradable substances, all authorized for food contact according to the European regulation, i.e., acetyltributyl citrate (ATBC), glycerol triacetate (GTA) and (PEG) at different molecular weights, were tested at different percentages (5, 10 and 20 wt %). Thermal and mechanical characterization of PHBV/plasticizer blends showed that a significant plasticizing effect was obtained using hydrophobic substances such as ATBC and GTA, with an increase of the elongation at break from 1.8% up to about 6% for an additive content of 10 wt %. However, the incorporation of WSF in plasticized PHBV led to a dramatic decrease in the elongation at break of composites, neutralizing the increase of this parameter by the addition of the plasticizers. The stress at break of plasticized films was also significantly decreased by the introduction of fibers. Such a loss of ductility was mainly explained by the occurrence of microscopic defects in the materials induced by the presence of fibers and to a poor adhesion at the fiber/matrix interface.

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