Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) molecular weight and extrusion temperature in starch/PVA biodegradable sheets

Abstract The aim of this work was to study the relationship of chain size of partially hydrolyzed PVA blended with starch in properties of biodegradable sheets produced by thermoplastic extrusion. It was also studied the effect of extrusion temperature profile to determine the better PVA chain size and temperature profile to produce biodegradable sheets through a factorial design. The processability and the mechanical, thermal, optical, and microstructural properties of the biodegradable sheets were adequate, indicating that PVA/cassava starch blends have potential to replace conventional non-biodegradable polymers. Tensile strength and Young’s modulus ranges from 1.0 to 2.6 and 3.0 to 6.9 MPa respectively, the elongation at break ranges from 42 to 421%. It was not possible to state a conclusive relationship between PVA molecular weight and the materials properties, but in general, PVA with medium molecular weight and high extrusion temperature profile promote an increase of mechanical properties of the sheets.