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Barrier, Mechanical, Thermal, and Rheological Properties of Plasticized Biopolymeric Films Manufactured by Co-Extrusion

The thermal, rheological, mechanical, and barrier properties of flat biopolymeric films processed by extrusion with different proportions of plasticizer and surfactant were evaluated. In the first stage, pellets were developed through twin-screw extrusion using a temperature profile in the ascending step process. These samples were analyzed using rotational rheology analysis to understand the viscoelastic transitions through the behavior of the storage and loss modulus, as well as the incidence of complex viscosity concerning concentration. The interaction among the components was analyzed under infrared spectroscopy after the two processing stages, revealing the miscibility of the mixture due to the action of the surfactant. The degradation temperatures increased by more than 20 °C, generating thermal stability, and the temperatures related to polymer transitions were determined. In the second stage, co-extrusion was carried out using pellets from the blend with a melt flow index (MFI) suitable for this process. The samples TPS50-PLA50-T5 and TPS75-PLA25-T5-A10 presented MFI values of 2.27 and 1.72 g/10 min, respectively. These samples were co-extruded for the production of films, impacting the physical properties. The resistance to traction, Young’s modulus, and elongation showed limited effectiveness of plasticizer and surfactant, with high resistance and elongation values (4.276 MPa and 2.63%) in the TPS50-PLA50-T5 film. Additionally, morphological analysis showed the detailed action of the plasticizer on the regular shapes of threads as a product of deformation during material processing. The barrel properties exhibited limited biopolymer–plastic–tensile miscibility, resulting in different water vapor permeability for the TPS75-PLA25-T5-A10 film on each side (a difference of two orders of magnitude). The contact angle corroborated the effect, with values in each case ranging from 103.7° to 30.3°. In conclusion, we assert that biopolymeric films, when modified with plasticizers and surfactants, can be tailored for various applications within the packaging sector while maintaining control over each film.

Publication date: 06/03/2024

Author: Heidy Lorena Calambás Pulgarin

Reference: doi: 10.3390/pr12030524

MDPI (processes)


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.