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D. Żuchowska, R. Steller, W. Meissner

Polymer composites susceptible to biodegradation
Polimery 2007, No 7/8, 524


Summary

On the basis of the literature data (review covering publications up to 2007) the methods of preparation and some useful properties of the systems synthetic polymer/starch were characterized. Especially the possibility to increase the susceptibility to degradation of the systems based on polyethylene/starch with compatibilizers or polyesters (polycaprolactone)/starch made by reactive extrusion has been discussed. The results of own research concerned the effect of the introduction of 10% of epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) or the mixture of ENR with dicumyl peroxide (DCP) into the composites of polyethylene or polypropylene (produced by reactive extrusion), containing 60% of starch plastified with glycerol (SG), on their biodegradation (Table 1). It was found that after 36-month hold time of the samples in the soil, the weight loss was in the range 30-35% dependently on the composition (Fig. 1) but of course the weight loss concerned mainly the starch phase (Table 1). Changes of tensile properties during 36-month soil test (Fig. 2 and 3) suggest also significant changes in the structure of polyolefin matrix, especially PE crosslinking and PP degradation. These observed changes are strongly dependent on the presence of additives (ENR, DCP), degradation time and soil reaction.


Key words: biodegradation in the soil, polyethylene, polypropylene, plastified starch, additives, mechanical properties


e-mail: Danuta.Zuchowska@pwr.wroc.pl


D. Żuchowska, R. Steller, W. Meissner

Polymer composites susceptible to biodegradation