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Biomacromolecules. 2002 May-Jun;3(3):609-17.

Morphological investigation of nanocomposites from sorbitol plasticized starch and tunicin whiskers.

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Centre de Recherches sur les Macromolécules Végétales (CERMAV-CNRS), Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, F 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.


Nanocomposites were prepared from waxy maize starch plasticized with sorbitol as the matrix and a stable aqueous suspension of tunicin whiskers-an animal cellulose-as the reinforcing phase. The composites were conditioned at different relative humidity levels. The conditioned films were characterized using scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, water uptake experiments, and wide-angle X-ray scattering studies. Contrarily to our previous report concerning tunicin whisker filled glycerol plasticized starch nanocomposites (Macromolecules 2000, 33, 8344), the present system exhibited a single glass-rubber transition, and no evidence of transcrystallization of amylopectin on cellulose whisker surfaces and resultant antiplasticizing effects were observed. It was found that the glass-rubber transition temperature of the plasticized amylopectin matrix first increases up a whiskers content around 10-15 wt % and then decreases. A significant increase in crystallinity was observed in the composites by increasing either moisture content or whiskers content.

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