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Renewable polymers

Research Achievements

Renewable polymers

Ms. DeLeo’s research is in the area of polymer blends using both synthetic and naturally derived materials. Research was conducted on renewable polymers based on thermoplastic starch. A multi-step processing method was developed to adequately plasticize starch using a single screw extruder. Processing was successfully developed to reactively blend plasticized starch with multifunctional polypropylene to create compatibilized, crosslinked, partially biodegradable plastic materials with high starch content. The materials with high starch content were characterized and shown to have elastomeric properties. A paper describing this work was submitted to the Journal of Applied Polymer Science. Experiments exploring the elastomeric properties were conducted and remain ongoing during the student’s research rotation at the University of Campinas, Brazil.