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Heat Transfer in Cassava Starch Biopolymers: Effect of the Addition of Borax

In recent years, polymer engineering, at the molecular level, has proven to be an effective strategy to modulate thermal conductivity. Polymers have great applicability in the food packaging industry, in which transparency, lightness, flexibility, and biodegradability are highly desirable characteristics. In this work, a possible manner to adjust the thermal conductivity in cassava starch biopolymer films is presented. Our approach is based on modifying the starch molecular structure through the addition of borax, which has been previously used as an intermolecular bond reinforcer. We found that the thermal conductivity increases linearly with borax content. This effect is related to the crosslinking effect that allows the principal biopolymer chains to be brought closer together, generating an improved interconnected network favoring heat transfer. The highest value of the thermal conductivity is reached at a volume fraction of 1.40% of borax added. Our analyses indicate that the heat transport improves as borax concentration increases, while for borax volume fractions above 1.40%, heat carriers scattering phenomena induce a decrement in thermal conductivity. Additionally, to obtain a deeper understanding of our results, structural, optical, and mechanical characterizations were also performed.

Publication date: 25/11/2021

Author: Adriana Paola Franco-Bacca

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13234106

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.