Synergistic effect of graphene oxide nanoplatelets and cellulose nanofibers on mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties of thermoplastic starch
In recent years, because of the limited availability of oil resources and the increasing concerns regarding environment protection, much attention has been drawn to produce packaging films based on degradable biopolymers instead of synthetic polymers. On the other hand, because of the high costs of oil extraction, raw materials and film production, and disposing of the waste products of synthetic films, the need to replace these films with less pollutant and more cost?effective films is growing globally. In this study, to answer the need for replacing synthetic polymer films, nanocomposite films based on thermoplastic starch reinforced with cellulose nanofibers and graphene oxide nanoplatelets were produced and characterized. The results implied that the synergistic effect of cellulose nanofibers and graphene oxide nanoplatelets has played an important role in improving the mechanical properties of the films. The results showed that with the addition of cellulose nanofibers and graphene oxide nanoplatelets, the tensile strength and elastic modulus of starch film were increased from 3 and 32 MPa to 13 and 436 MPa, which corresponds to 438% and 1435% improvement, respectively. In addition, the oxygen permeability resistance and the water vapor transmission for samples containing 3 wt% of graphene oxide nanoplatelets was decreased by 78% and 30% compared with the thermoplastic starch film, respectively. The permeability coefficient of the samples containing 3 wt% graphene oxide nanoplatelets for oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide have proved to be 0.051, 0.054, and 0.047 barrer, which shows that these films can perform well as packaging films.