Liquefaction of Corn Husks and Properties of Biodegradable Biopolyol Blends

Rodrigo Briones, Jesús Rodrigue, Peter Martin, Eoin Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND
A valorization route of corn husks from agrarian practices was performed by liquefaction using glycerol as liquefaction solvent to obtain biopolyols used as bioadditive in starch blends with the aim to find a useful industrial application in polymer processing.

RESULTS
Low molecular weight liquefied products obtained from a practically total convert reaction can be used for composite formulations (OH number, 310 mg KOH/g; viscosity, 3.4 Pa.s; and molecular weight (MW), 549 g/mol). Concurrently, starch thermoplastic blends using different proportions of biopolyol (40, 30 and 20 wt %) as plasticizer were produced with maximum torque and plasticization energy ranging from 3.4 to 15.1 Nm and from 1.7 to 9.1 Nm/min. The starch/biopolyol (70/30) sheets obtained by thermo‐pressing showed similar properties to controls (starch/glycerol: 70/30) such as sensitivity to environment, retrodegradation, biodegradability and density, however, mechanical properties exhibited better performance compared to controls (Young's modulus, 14 MPa; strain at break, 33 %; and tensile strength, 1.2 MPa), which exhibit a material with major mechanical balance.

CONCLUSION
The adequacy in the conversion of corn husks into biopolyols that could be used as improved bio‐based plasticizer to obtain biodegradable blends was revealed in the results. Hence, this study demonstrates that liquefied corn husks residues are sustainable resources with suitable properties for polymer processing, which can be applied in bioplastics and be considered as a value‐added feature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJOURNAL OF CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
Early online date01 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 01 May 2020

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