Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 7–14 | Cite as

Starch, Poly(lactic acid), and Poly(vinyl alcohol) Blends

  • Tianyi Ke
  • Xiuzhi S. SunEmail author


Research on biodegradable materials has been stimulated due to concern regarding the persistence of plastic wastes. Blending starch with poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is one of the most promising efforts because starch is an abundant and cheap biopolymer and PLA is biodegradable with good mechanical properties. Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVOH) contains unhydrolytic residual groups of poly(vinyl acetate) and also has good compatibility with starch. It was added to a starch and PLA blend (50:50, w/w) to enhance compatibility and improve mechanical properties. PVOH (MW 6,000) at 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% (by weight) based on the total weight of starch and PLA, and 30% PVOH at various molecular weights (MW 6,000, 25,000, 78,000, and 125,000 dalton) were added to starch/PLA blends. PVOH interacted with starch. At proportions greater than 30%, PVOH form a continuous phase with starch. Tensile strength of the starch/PLA blends increased as PVOH concentration increased up to 40% and decreased as PVOH molecular weight increased. The increasing molecular weight of PVOH slightly affected water absorption, but increasing PVOH concentration to 40% or 50% increased water absorption. Effects of moisture content on the starch/PLA/PVOH blend also were explored. The blend containing gelatinized starch had higher tensile strength. However, gelatinized starch also resulted in increased water absorption.

Starch poly(lactic acid) poly(vinyl alcohol) blends mechanical properties 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Grain Science andIndustry Kansas State UniversityManhattan, KS

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