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Green Nanocomposites Based on Thermoplastic Starch: A Review

The development of bio-based materials has been a consequence of the environmental awareness generated over time. The versatility of native starch is a promising starting point for manufacturing environmentally friendly materials. This work aims to compile information on the advancements in research on thermoplastic starch (TPS) nanocomposites after the addition of mainly these four nanofillers: natural montmorillonite (MMT), organically modified montmorillonite (O-MMT), cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), and cellulose nanofibers (CNF). The analyzed properties of nanocomposites were mechanical, barrier, optical, and degradability. The most important results were that as the nanofiller increases, the TPS modulus and strength increase; however, the elongation decreases. Furthermore, the barrier properties indicate that that the incorporation of nanofillers confers superior hydrophobicity. However, the optical properties (transparency and luminosity) are mostly reduced, and the color variation is more evident with the addition of these fillers. The biodegradability rate increases with these nanocompounds, as demonstrated by the study of the method of burial in the soil. The results of this compilation show that the compatibility, proper dispersion, and distribution of nanofiller through the TPS matrix are critical factors in overcoming the limitations of starch when extending the applications of these biomaterials. TPS nanocomposites are materials with great potential for improvement. Exploring new sources of starch and natural nano-reinforcement could lead to a genuinely eco-friendly material that can replace traditional polymers in applications such as packaging.

Publication date: 23/09/2021

Author: Katherine E. Rivadeneira-Velasco

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13193227

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.