Super-Repellent Paper Coated with Electrospun Biopolymers and Electrosprayed Silica of Interest in Food Packaging Applications
In the current work, a super-repellent biopaper suitable for food contact applications was developed. To do this, three different kinds of biopolymers, namely polylactide (PLA), poly(&epsilon;-caprolactone) (PCL), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV), and hydrophobic silica microparticles (SiO2), were sequentially processed by electrohydrodynamic processing (EDHP). As a first step, the ultrathin biopolymer fibers were deposited onto a commercial food contact cellulose paper by electrospinning and, thereafter, the nanostructured silica was sequentially electrosprayed. The multilayer coated papers were annealed at different temperatures to promote adhesion between the layers and enhance the super-repellent properties. The developed coatings were characterized in terms of morphology, permeance to water vapor, adhesion, mechanical resistance, and contact and sliding angle. The resultant multilayer biopapers presented a hierarchical micro/nanostructured surface with an apparent water contact angle (WCA) higher than 155&deg; and sliding angle (SA) lower than 10&deg; for all the tested biopolymers used. Among the different multilayer approaches, it was observed that the paper/PHBV/SiO2 showed the best performance, in terms of water vapor permeance; resistance after the tape peeling-off test; and food super-repelling properties to water, yogurt, and custard. Overall, this study presents the successful generation of super-repellent biopapers coated with PLA, PCL, or PHBV along with hydrophobic silica microparticles and its effectiveness for easy emptying food packaging applications to reduce food waste.