Effect of molecular structure on film blowing ability of thermoplastic zein

Authors

  • M. Oliviero,

    1. Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy, Naples 80125, Italy
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  • E. Di Maio,

    1. Department of Materials and Production Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples 80125, Italy
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  • S. Iannace

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy, Naples 80125, Italy
    • Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy, Naples 80125, Italy
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Abstract

The aim of this work was to explore the feasibility of preparing thermoplastic films from commercial zein by film blowing technology. Zein, a cereal protein extracted from maize, was plasticized directly in the extruder, without the time-consuming and expensive solubilization step, usually utilized in literature for this material. Four different batches of zein were investigated, for it has been observed that properties such as the film-forming ability of natural polymers strongly depend on several factors such as sources, extraction, and drying conditions. Thermal, rheological, and macromolecular structural characteristics were evaluated for the different materials to establish a correlation among molecular structure, rheological behavior in uniaxial elongation, and film blowing processability. Results indicate that the best films were made by using thermoplasticized zein characterized with a pronounced strain hardening and a large content of α-helices. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010

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