Influence of Dielectric Barrier Discharge Cold Plasma Treatment on Starch, Gelatin, and Bacterial Cellulose Biodegradable Polymeric Films
The environmental damage caused by plastic packaging and the need to reduce pollution requires actions to substitute plastic materials for more sustainable and biodegradable materials. Starch, gelatin, and bacterial cellulose films are three potential biodegradable polymeric films for use in packaging. However, these materials need improvements in their physical, chemical, and mechanical properties to be used in packaging. In this work, these films were treated with cold plasma to evaluate the effects of treatment conditions on several physical, chemical, and mechanical properties. The dielectric barrier discharge plasma technology was applied with varying treatment times (0 to 20 min) and excitation frequencies (50 to 900 Hz) at 20 kV. The optimal excitation frequency for starch films (50 Hz) was different from the optimal frequency for gelatin and bacterial cellulose films (900 Hz), indicating a high dependency on the treatment in this variable that is often neglected. Plasma treatment improved the hydrophobicity, surface morphology, water resistance, and mechanical properties of all three films, with the advantage of not recurring to chemical or biological additives.