Applications of Starch Nanocrystal-based Blends, Composites and Nanocomposites
Starch nanocrystals are crystalline platelets obtained by the acid hydrolysis of starch. They are readily available, non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible and have high reactivity and easy processability. These properties, added to their capacity for exhibiting a reinforcing function similar to that of inorganic nanofillers, make them interesting for incorporation into polymeric matrices in order to improve the physical–mechanical properties. This chapter highlights recent research on the preparation, characterization and properties of polymeric matrix–starch nanocrystal nanocomposites. Results indicate that starch nanocrystals are able to improve the properties of polymers because strong interactions between the matrix and the nanofillers were formed. The particular characteristics, such as the polymer used as the matrix and the amount of nanofillers, that also affect the properties of the nanocomposites are discussed.