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Keywords:

  • composites;
  • polypropylene;
  • starch;
  • mechanical properties;
  • thermal properties

Abstract

To determine the possibility of using starch as biodegradable filler in the thermoplastic polymer matrix, starch-filled polypropylene (PP) composites were prepared by extrusion of PP resin with 5, 10, 15, and 20 wt % of potato starch in corotating twin-screw extruder. The extruded strands were cut into pellets and injection molded to make test specimens. These specimens were tested for physicomechanical properties such as tensile and flexural properties, Izod impact strength, density, and water absorption. These PP composites were further characterized by melt flow index (MFI), vicat softening point (VSP), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) techniques. It was found that, with increase in starch content, tensile modulus, flexural strength, and flexural modulus of the PP composites increased along with the increase in moisture, water absorption, and density, while retaining the VSP; but, tensile strength and elongation, impact strength, hardness, and MFI of the PP composites also decreased. DSC analysis of the PP composite revealed the reduction in melting temperature, heat of fusion, and percentage of crystallization of PP with increase in starch content. Similarly, TGA traces display enhanced thermal degradability for PP as starch content increases. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011