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Development and characterization of high performance solvent cast soy protein isolate composite films

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Title: Development and characterization of high performance solvent cast soy protein isolate composite films
Author: Jensen, Alexander Matthew
Department: Department of Food Science
Program: Food Science
Advisor: Lim, Loong-Tak
Abstract: The application of current soy protein films are limited due to their low mechanical strength and high moisture sensitivity compared to synthetic materials. This research studied several methods to improve the mechanical properties [tensile strength (TS), elongation at break (EAB), Young’s modulus of elasticity (YM)] of solvent cast soy protein isolate (SPI) films. Drying times were significantly reduced through the use of a heated casting surface. Neutral (pH 7) SPI films were prepared but were found to have lower TS, EAB and YM than control films prepared under alkaline conditions. Cellulose was extracted from soybean wastes and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) verified the existence of nano-sized fibres. Composite SPI films were prepared using either extracted cellulose fibres or titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles and their mechanical and barrier properties (water vapour, and oxygen permeability) were evaluated under different relative humidity (RH) conditions. In general, TS and YM decreased and EAB increased with increasing RH. Films with 5% (w/w) added cellulose exhibited significant (p-value < 0.05) improvements in TS and YM but decreased EAB. TiO2 composites possessed similar TS, YM, and EAB values to control films. Barrier properties were comparable across all samples, and decreased with increasing RH. Samples were characterized using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Preliminary work investigating synthesis of filler materials using cross-linked sodium alginate particles increased the TS and YM of SPI films to a similar extent as extracted cellulose. A method for electrospinning cellulose using ionic liquids was developed, but requires further process optimization to be used for fibre/filler synthesis.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3681
Date: 2012-05
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