Hemicellulose as barrier material
Sammanfattning: Polysaccharides constitute an important source of raw materials for the packaging industry today. Polysaccharides have good natural barrier properties which are necessary for packaging films. Cellulose is the forerunner among renewable polymers for such applications. Hemicelluloses represent a new interesting breed of barrier materials. We have chosen to work with the hemicellulose O-acetyl-galactoglucomannan (AcGGM). The high water solubility of this particular hemicellulose extracted from process waters is both an advantage and a limiting factor. However, through the right modification, the water sensitivity of AcGGM can be regulated. This thesis presents four ways to modify AcGGM: (i) benzylation, (ii) plasma surface treatment followed by styrene addition, (iii) vapor-phase (VP) surface grafting with styrene, and (iv) lamination of an unmodified film with a benzylated material. The most important methods of analysis of the films produced include contact angle measurement, dynamic mechanical analysis under moisture scan, and oxygen gas permeability measurement. It was found that unmodified AcGGM films have low oxygen permeability at intermediate relative humidity (50 % RH) and good dynamic mechanical properties over a wider humidity range. Films of benzylated material (BnGGM) exhibited a decrease in oxygen permeability at lower humidity but showed better tolerance to higher humidities and indicated better dynamic mechanical behavior than AcGGM films. Lamination proved to be the most promising technique of modification, combining the good gas barrier properties of AcGGM films with the moisture-insensitivity of the BnGGM films.
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