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Keywords:

  • biodegradable;
  • composites;
  • degradation

Abstract

Nanocomposites, based on a poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) matrix and titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles and fabricated with a solvent-casting technique, were characterized with differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, scanning electron microscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The content of TiO2 nanoparticles varied between 0.5 and 10 wt %. Degradation studies, including hydrolytic degradation in a strong base medium (1N NaOH) and degradation under ultraviolet light at 365 nm, were performed. It was confirmed that the inorganic filler had no great influence on thermal properties such as the melting and crystallization temperatures. Improved degradation temperatures were also confirmed with the increase in the filler content. Degradation observations confirmed significant increases in hydrolytic erosion with the filler content increasing in comparison with the degradation of a pure PHBV film. Also, the photocatalytic activity of the inorganic filler TiO2 in all investigated composites [irradiated at λ = 365 nm and immersed in a liquid medium (H2O)] was evaluated. The degraded samples were analyzed with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, which confirmed their increased crystallinity. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009