Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 122–131 | Cite as

Characterization of Extruded Thermoplastic Starch Reinforced by Montmorillonite Nanoclay

  • Yachuan Zhang
  • Qiang Liu
  • Andrew Hrymak
  • Jung H. Han
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to understand how the montmorillonite (MMT) nanoclay influences physical and mechanical properties of thermoplastic starch (TPS), which was produced by a conventional extrusion procedure. MMT nanoclay was added at 0, 4, and 8 % (w/w) concentrations. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed most MMT platelets existed in tactoid structure in the starch matrix. In addition, FTIR spectra indicated TPS/MMT nanocomposites kept chemically stable after the extrusion. Tensile strength (TS) was about 7.0 MPa, while elongation-at-break (E) and elastic modulus (EM) were about 52 % and 32–41 MPa, respectively. Moisture sorption behaviour of the samples was well described by GAB and BET models. Thermal property tests exhibited the glass transition temperature (T g ) of the nanocomposites decreased with increasing MMT from 0 to 8 %, indicating MMT nanoclay had a plasticization effect.


Potato starch thermoplastics Montmorillonite Tensile properties Moisture sorption isotherm Glass transition temperature 



This work was financially supported by the BioPotato network (co-leader: Drs. Helen Tai and Yvan Pelletier) under the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The authors thank Mr. Rob Zhang (Faculty of Science at University of Manitoba, Canada) for measuring amylose content in potato starch.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yachuan Zhang
    • 1
    • 4
  • Qiang Liu
    • 1
  • Andrew Hrymak
    • 2
  • Jung H. Han
    • 3
  1. 1.Guelph Food Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.PepsiCo Advanced ResearchPlanoUSA
  4. 4.Manitoba Starch ProductsCarberryCanada

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