Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 47–55 | Cite as

Characterization of Biodegradable Composite Films Prepared from Blends of Poly(Vinyl Alcohol), Cornstarch, and Lignocellulosic Fiber

  • S. H. Imam
  • P. Cinelli
  • S. H. Gordon
  • E. Chiellini


Several composite blends of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and lignocellulosic fibers were prepared and characterized. Cohesive and flexible cast films were obtained by blending lignocellulosic fibers derived from orange waste and PVA with or without cornstarch. Films were evaluated for their thermal stability, water permeability and biodegradation properties. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) indicated the suitability of formulations for melt processing, and for application as mulch films in fields at much higher temperatures. Composite films were permeable to water, but at the same time able to maintain consistency and composition upon drying. Chemical crosslinking of starch, fiber and PVA, all hydroxyl functionalized polymers, by hexamethoxymethylmelamine (HMMM) improved water resistance in films. Films generally biodegraded within 30 days in soil, achieving between 50–80% mineralization. Both starch and lignocellulosic fiber degraded much more rapidly than PVA. Interestingly, addition of fiber to formulations enhanced the PVA degradation.


Composite mulch film renewable resources fillers poly(vinyl alcohol) biodegradation lignocellulosic. 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. H. Imam
    • 1
  • P. Cinelli
    • 2
  • S. H. Gordon
    • 3
  • E. Chiellini
    • 2
  1. 1.Bioproduct Chemistry & Engineering ResearchUSDA, ARS, WRRCAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry & Industrial ChemistryUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.Plant Polymer ResearchUSDA, ARS, NCAURPeoriaUSA

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