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Keywords:

  • polyurethane;
  • proteins;
  • blends;
  • crosslinking;
  • miscibility

Abstract

Waterborne polyurethane (WPU) and casein (1 : 1 by weight) were blended at 90°C for 30 min, and then were crosslinked by adding 1–10 wt % ethanedial to prepare a series of sheets. Their structure and properties were characterized by using infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, dynamic mechanical analysis, and tensile testing. The results indicated that crosslinked blend sheets exhibited a certain degree of miscibility, and exhibited much higher tensile strength and water resistivity than did the WPU, casein, and the uncrosslinked blend from WPU and casein. When the ethanedial content was 2 wt %, the tensile strength and elongation at break of crosslinked sheets achieved 19.5 MPa and 148% in the dry state, and 5.0 MPa and 175% in the wet state, respectively. A 2 wt % content of ethanedial plays an important role in the enhancement of mechanical properties, thermal stability, and water resistivity of the blends of WPU and casein as a result of intermolecular crosslinking. This work provided a new protein plastic with good water resistivity. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 332–338, 2004