Some effects of processing on the molecular structure and morphology of thermoplastic starch
Journal article, 2008
Hydroxypropylated and oxidised potato starch (HONPS) was used together with glycerol and water to produce thermoplastic starch. The amount of glycerol was kept constant at 22 parts by weight per 100 parts of dry starch. The thermoplastic starch was converted into films/sheets using three different processing techniques; casting, compression moulding and film blowing. The last two methods represent typical thermoplastic conversion techniques requiring elevated processing temperatures. By means of size-exclusion chromatography, it was found that compression moulding and film blowing led to some degradation of high-molecular weight amylopectin as well as of high-molecular weight amylose-like molecules. The degradation was significantly less pronounced for the cast films. The morphology of the specimens was quite complex and phase separations on different levels were identified. In the cast films and, to a lesser extent, in the compression-moulded specimens, a fine network structure could be distinguished. Such a structure could however not be ascertained in the film-blown material and this is discussed in terms of the thermo-mechanical treatment of the starch materials. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.