Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 2078–2088 | Cite as

Enhanced Mechanical and Barrier Performance of Poly (Lactic Acid) Based Nanocomposites Using Surface Acetylated Starch Nanocrystals

  • Pooja Takkalkar
  • Gregory Griffin
  • Nhol KaoEmail author
Original paper


Poly (lactic) acid (PLA) based nanocomposites reinforced with starch nanocrystals (SNC) extracted from high amylopectin waxy maize starch and acetylated starch nanocrystals (Ac-SNC), were prepared and their influence on the overall properties of PLA nanocomposites were studied. The two nanofillers (SNC and Ac-SNC) were incorporated in PLA at two different loadings (1 and 3 wt%) by solvent casting and evaporation technique. Surface acetylation of SNC was confirmed by Fourier Transform infra-red spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and the crystalline structure by X-ray diffraction. This paper reports the influence of incorporating unacetylated and surface acetylated starch nanocrystals on morphological, barrier, mechanical, and rheological properties of PLA based nanocomposites. While both nanofillers improved the properties of PLA, the PLA-Ac-SNC had superior properties to that of PLA-SNC nanocomposites, due to better filler dispersion and interaction with the polymer matrix. These sustainable nanocomposites with improved properties will expand the application of these bio-sourced starch nanocrystals.

Graphical Abstract


Polylactic acid Starch nanocrystals Acetylation Nanocomposites Interfacial interaction 



The research work reported in this paper was funded by the RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia. The authors are grateful to Dr Robert Brkljaca and Sunly Prum from the School of Science, RMIT University for their assistance with NMR, and Mike Allan and Dr Muthu Pannirselvam from the School of Engineering, RMIT University for their assistance with the Mocon and Rheological analysis. The authors acknowledge the facilities, and the scientific and technical assistance of the RMIT University’s Microscopy & Microanalysis Facility (RMMF), a linked laboratory of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical and Environmental Engineering, School of EngineeringRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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