|Wang, Chaohua - USDA-ARS (POST-DOC)|
Submitted to: Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 12, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: With the current depressed prices for farm commodities, new value-added markets for agricultural products need to be developed. The development of new bio-based materials which could replace current petroleum-based materials in various consumer and engineering applications would not only open new markets for agricultural products, but would also lessen the United State's dependence on foreign oil. In this work, it was demonstrated that wheat and soybean proteins could be blended with a commercial biodegradable resin to produce materials with properties comparable to petroleum-based plastics. Additional research will be needed to optimize the properties of these protein-based blends.
Technical Abstract: Blends of poly (hydroxy ester ether) (PHEE), a recently developed bisphenol A ether-based synthetic biodegradable thermoplastic polymer, with a soybean protein isolate and two hydrolyzed wheat glutens were studied. Blends of the proteins with PHEE were produced from 20 to 70% by weight of protein content. The Young's moduli of the protein/PHEE blends fall in the range of 0.8 to 1.5 GPa with tensile strengths ranging from 10 to 30 MPa. Fracture strengths of the blends ranged from 2 to 9 MPa-m**1/2 depending on the amount of protein added. Morphological analysis indicated a moderate degree of adhesion between the protein and PHEE phases in the blends. In general, as the protein content was increased the materials lost ductility and failed in a brittle manner; however, the mechanical properties of several compositions were comparable to current commercial thermoplastics such as polystyrene.