Biodegradable Polymers: Thermoplastic Starch Reinforced with Recycled Paper Cellulose Fibers

Dr. Kathawut Pachana
Faculty of Science, Burapha University

Environmental concerns have resulted in a renewed interest in environmental-friendly plastics issues for sustainable development as biodegradable renewable resource. The main objective of this research was to prepare and investigate properties of the biodegradable composites based on thermoplastic starch (TPS) reinforced with recycled paper cellulose fibers. In this research we used cellulose fibers from recycled paper as reinforcement for TPS in order to improve their mechanical, thermal and water resistance properties. The biocomposites were prepared from corn starch plasticized by glycerol as matrix that was reinforced with micro-cellulose fibers, obtained from used office paper, with fibers content ranging from 0 to 8% wt/wt of fibers to matrix. These fibers were manually pre-mixed with the matrix in a polyethylene bag and then mixed using an electric mixer at 160 °C. The resulting mixtures were compression molded at 160 °C to 1 mm thick sheets; then the resulting composites were cut in specimens for the following tests. Properties of composites were determined by mechanical tensile test, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, water absorption measurement, scanning electron microscopy and soil burial tests. The results showed that higher fibers content raised the tensile strength and elastic modulus up to 109% and 112%, respectively, when compared to the non-reinforced TPS. The addition of the fibers improved the thermal resistance and decreased the water absorption up to 63.6%. Scanning electron microscopy illustrated a good adhesion between matrix and fibers. Besides, the non-reinforced TPS biological degraded within 5 weeks, and the composites did after 8 weeks but required a longer time with higher fibers content.


  • โครงการวิจัยชื่อ “Biodegradable Polymers: Thermoplastic Starch Reinforced with Recycled Paper Cellulose Fibers” – ระยะเวลาโครงการ: October 2009-September 2011