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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Bioproducts from Agricultural Feedstocks

Location: Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research

Title: Starch-based Foam Composite Materials: processing and bioproducts

Authors
item Glenn, Gregory
item Orts, William
item Imam, Syed

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2011
Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Citation: Glenn, G.M., Orts, W.J., Imam, S.H. 2011. Starch-based Foam Composite Materials: processing and bioproducts. Electronic Publication. 36(9): 1-7.

Interpretive Summary: Starch is an agricultural commodity that can be used in some applications as a replacement for plastic foam. This research article investigated different technologies for making starch-based foam materials with additives such as reinforcing-fibers and nanoparticles for generating composites that can be used as substitute for some petroleum-based, polystyrene foam products. Research provides new and novel processing technologies for using starch in making foam products which adds value to farm derived chemicals benefiting farmers and producers, and is also beneficial for the environment.

Technical Abstract: Starch is an abundant, biodegradable, renewable and low-cost commodity that has been explored as a replacement for petroleum-based plastics. By itself, starch is a poor replacement for plastics because of its moisture sensitivity and brittle properties. Efforts to improve starch properties and functionality have been limited mostly to its chemical treatments or blending it with other compatible resins. This article describes the use of various processing technologies which include heat expansion, extrusion, puffing and baking for starch in the presence of other materials to make functional composites of advanced functionality and improved sustainability. Results indicated that reinforcing-fibers and other nanoparticles can also be processed together with starch to generate functionalized foam composites that can be used as substitute for some petroleum-based foam products. New bioproducts from starch-based foam and foam-composite materials, including nanocomposites, would provide viable alternatives for some petroleum-based products such as single-use foam food containers.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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