Computational modeling of biodegradable starch based polymer composites

Sachin Sudhakar Joshi, Florida International University


Purpose. The goal of this study is to improve the favorable molecular interactions between starch and PPC by addition of grafting monomers MA and ROM as compatibilizers, which would advance the mechanical properties of starch/PPC composites. Methodology. DFT and semi-empirical methods based calculations were performed on three systems: (a) starch/PPC, (b) starch/PPC-MA, and (c) starch-ROM/PPC. Theoretical computations involved the determination of optimal geometries, binding-energies and vibrational frequencies of the blended polymers. Findings. Calculations performed on five starch/PPC composites revealed hydrogen bond formation as the driving force behind stable composite formation, also confirmed by the negative relative energies of the composites indicating the existence of binding forces between the constituent co-polymers. The interaction between starch and PPC is also confirmed by the computed decrease in stretching CO and OH group frequencies participating in hydrogen bond formation, which agree qualitatively with the experimental values. A three-step mechanism of grafting MA on PPC was proposed to improve the compatibility of PPC with starch. Nine types of 'blends' produced by covalent bond formation between starch and MA-grafted PPC were found to be energetically stable, with blends involving MA grafted at the 'B' and 'C' positions of PPC indicating a binding-energy increase of 6.8 and 6.2 kcal/mol, respectively, as compared to the non-grafted starch/PPC composites. A similar increase in binding-energies was also observed for three types of 'composites' formed by hydrogen bond formation between starch and MA-grafted PPC. Next, grafting of ROM on starch and subsequent blend formation with PPC was studied. All four types of blends formed by the reaction of ROM-grafted starch with PPC were found to be more energetically stable as compared to the starch/PPC composite and starch/PPC-MA composites and blends. A blend of PPC and ROM grafted at the '[special characters omitted]' position on amylose exhibited a maximal increase of 17.1 kcal/mol as compared with the starch/PPC-MA blend. Conclusions. ROM was found to be a more effective compatibilizer in improving the favorable interactions between starch and PPC as compared to MA. The '[special characters omitted]' position was found to be the most favorable attachment point of ROM to amylose for stable blend formation with PPC.

Subject Area

Polymer chemistry|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Joshi, Sachin Sudhakar, "Computational modeling of biodegradable starch based polymer composites" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3298589.