Technological watch

Sustainable alginate/aloe vera composite biodegradable films reinforced with carboxymethyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose

Alginate/aloe vera composite biodegradable films were reinforced with modified cellulose fibers like CMC and HPMC. Addition of both these celluloses improved the strength and flexibility of composite films. Cellulose reinforced biopolymer based sustainable packaging can potentially replace the synthetic plastic films.Biopolymers like polysaccharides are being used to develop biodegradable and edible food packaging films. These films are environment friendly but have inferior mechanical strength as compared to conventional plastics. This study seeks to enhance the mechanical properties of alginate aloe vera composite films by the fusion of organic fibers like carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC). CMC and HPMC were added at varying concentrations (2%–14%).Addition of both these cellulose derivatives had a positive effect on the tensile strength and elongation at break of the composite films. The tensile strength increased to a maximum value of 35.08 and 51.96?N/mm2 in CMC and HPMC films, respectively at 4% concentration of both. Increasing the fiber concentration further resulted in a decrease of tensile strength. Similar trend was observed in the flexibility of the films as the elongation at break value was maximum 5.57% and 3.21%, respectively at 4% concentration. The addition of CMC reduced the water solubility of the film. The solubility decreased to 19% at the maximum concentration of CMC. The effect of HPMC on water solubility was opposite to that of CMC. The solubility of the film increased to 86.42% at highest concentration of HPMC. CMC slowed down the biodegradation rate of the films whereas HPMC increased it.

Publication date: 30/03/2022

Polymer Composites


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.