The Physical and Mechanical Properties of Corn-based Bioplastic Films with Different Starch and Glycerol Content


Petroleum-based plastics have had a long history with varied materials and applications. However, the major drawback with these plastics is their harmful impact on the environment. Poor disposal management of these plastics have ultimately affected humans. Therefore, starch-based bioplastics have been widely used because of their renewability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness. This work investigated the effect of different concentrations of corn starch (10%, 15%, and 20% w/w of distilled water) and glycerol (20%, 30%, and 40% w/v of corn starch) on the properties of corn-based bioplastic films. Particularly, mechanical (tensile strength, Young’s modulus and elongation at break) and physical (water absorption rate and moisture content) properties were investigated. These films were prepared by the solvent casting method. It was demonstrated that the addition of 30% glycerol produced mechanical properties closest to the standard value, while films with a composition of 15% of corn starch had the most optimised value. Meanwhile, 20% glycerol and 20% corn starch produced a film with high strength and stiffness but lacked flexibility. Higher concentrations of starch and glycerol produced the highest moisture and water absorption rate. This was due to the highly hydrophilic nature of both corn starch and glycerol. However, the concentration of glycerol needs to be adjusted based on the intended use of the film. In conclusion, the concentration of corn starch and glycerol produced slightly different outcomes. Thus, the properties and application of the corn-based bioplastic films can be maximised by optimising the concentration of corn starch and glycerol.