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Keywords:

  • HDPE;
  • HDPE–starch blends;
  • HDPE-g-maleic anhydride;
  • biodegradable polyethylene

Abstract

Tapioca starch in both glycerol-plasticized and in unplasticized states was blended with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) using HDPE-g-maleic anhydride as the compatibilizer. The impact and tensile properties of the blends were measured according to ASTM methods. The results reveal that blends containing plasticized starch have better mechanical properties than those containing unplasticized starch. High values of elongation at break at par with those of virgin HDPE could be obtained for blends, even with high loading of plasticized starch. Morphological studies by SEM microscopy of impact-fractured specimens of such blends revealed a ductile fracture, unlike blends with unplasticized starch at such high loadings, which showed brittle fracture, even with the addition of compatibilizer. In general, blends of HDPE and plasticized starch with added compatibilizer show better mechanical properties than similar blends containing unplasticized starch. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 80: 863–872, 2001