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Effect of Starch Type and Pre-Treatment on the Properties of Gelatin–Starch Foams Produced by Mechanical Foaming

Incorporating biopolymers in packaging foams can contribute to a more circular packaging system, utilizing renewable and compostable materials. Gelatin, with its favorable physicochemical properties, allows for producing gelatin foams via mechanical foaming, a well-established and low-investment process. To improve foam properties, starch can be added to the gelatin formulation. However, the variability in the properties of starch powders can impact the polymer blend and, consequently, the properties of the dry foam. This study aimed to investigate the impact of different starch powders from different botanical origins (tapioca and corn) and treatments (native or pregelatinized) on the properties of gelatin–starch foams produced by mechanical foaming. The study successfully produced foams with densities of approximately 45–50 kg/m3 and compression properties comparable to EPS (expanded polystyrene) foams. The starch type and pre-treatment significantly influenced the properties of the foam. Pregelatinized starches exhibited slightly higher densities due to lower foamability caused by higher viscosity. Using starch exhibiting total loss of birefringence led to denser foams with greater compression properties than those with starch with a certain degree of crystallinity remaining. Therefore, selecting the appropriate starch type is crucial when developing starch-based materials to ensure optimal material and processing properties align with application requirements.

Publication date: 02/04/2023

Author: Virginia Martin Torrejon

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym15071775

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.