Starch nanocrystals (SNCs) were successfully synthesized by acid hydrolysis of waxy barley starch and were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Nanocomposites based on ethylene-co-vinyl acetate (EVA) and SNCs were produced by melt-processing using a microextruder. Interesting is to note that SNCs do not lose their crystalline nature during melt-processing. Moreover, the mechanical and thermal properties of the neat matrix were improved by the addition of SNCs thanks to the strong hydrogen bonding between the nanofillers surface and the acetate groups of the matrix. The introduction of 2 wt.% and 5 wt.% of SNCs into the matrix, lead to an increase of its elastic modulus of about 50% and 100%, respectively. Moreover, the addition of SNCs provoked an increase of the thermal stability of about 10 °C respect to the neat matrix. These results clearly revealed the possibility to introduce SNCs in a polymeric matrix by extrusion enabling to reach materials with enhanced mechanical and thermal properties due to beneficial hydrogen bonding between SNCs and EVA.
Sessini V.;Kenny J. M.
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