Rheology and morphology of starch/synthetic polymer blends

K. Seethamrajul, M. Bhattacharya, U. R. Vaidya, R. G. Fulcher

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Corn starch and maleic anhydride functionalized synthetic polymers were melt blended in a Haake twin-screw extruder. The amount of starch in the blends was 60 and 70% by weight. The synthetic polymer used was either styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) or ethylene propylene maleic anhydride copolymer (EPMA). The blends did not exhibit normal thermoplastic behavior; and hence, rheological data was obtained by extrusion feeding the material through a slit die or cylindrical tube viscometer. The starch/SMA blends were extruded through a slit viscometer with a 45% half entry angle, while the starch/EPMA blends were extruded through a cylindrical tube viscometer with a half entry angle of 37.5°. For the blends, data could be obtained at low to moderate shear rates (10< γapp<200s-1). At higher shear rates, blends exhibited slip and/or degradation of starch. The viscosity of the blends exhibited shear-thinning properties. Regrinding and re-extruding through the viscometer a second time showed a significant reduction in shear viscosity for starch/SMA blends. Gel permeation chromatography data indicated that starch macromolecules degraded upon successive extrusion. Extensional viscosity, as estimated from entrance pressure drop method for starch/EPMA blends showed stretch thinning properties. Regrinding and re-extruding showed that the samples were more sensitive to changes in extensional viscosity as observed from the Trouton ratio versus extension rate plot. Optical microscopy showed the presence of starch granules after melt blending, the size of which was related to the torque (or stress) generated during extrusion. The higher the torque, the smaller the size of the starch granules. Successive extrusion runs reduced the number of unmelted granules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-567
Number of pages15
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1994


  • Starch/synthetic polymer blends
  • morphology
  • theology


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