The effects of glycerol and polyethylene-grafted maleic anhydride (PE-g-MA) on the morphology, thermal properties, and tensile properties of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and rice starch blends were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), differential scanning calorimetry, and the Instron Universal Testing Machine, respectively. Blends of LDPE/rice starch, LDPE/rice starch/glycerol, and LDPE/rice starch/glycerol/PE-g-MA with different starch contents were prepared by using a laboratory scale twin-screw extruder. The distribution of rice starch in LDPE matrix became homogenous after the addition of glycerol. The interfacial adhesion between rice starch and LDPE was improved by the addition of PE-g-MA as demonstrated by SEM. The crystallization temperatures of LDPE/rice starch/glycerol blends and LDPE/rice starch/glycerol/PE-g-MA blends were similar to that of pure LDPE but higher than that of LDPE/rice starch blends. Both the tensile strength and the elongation at break followed the order of rice starch/LDPE/glycerol/PE-g-MA blends > rice starch/LDPE/glycerol > LDPE/rice starch blends. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 344–350, 2004
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