Iranian Polymer Journal (English Edition), vol.32, no.3, pp.263-273, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2023, Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute.In this work, low-density polyethylene (LDPE)/chitosan (CH) blend films were prepared using polyethylene-graft-maleic-anhydride (PE-g-MA) as a compatibilizing agent for improving the interfacial adhesion. The effects of PE-g-MA concentration on the plasticized LDPE/CH blend films were investigated. The films were characterized by mechanical, thermal, hydrophobicity, structural, and permeability analyses. The results showed that CH and PEG (P) addition into PE had a reducing effect on tensile strength but, addition of the compatibilizer improved this property. Tensile strength value increased by about 16% in PE/CH/PE-g-MA film with only 5 wt% MA addition compared to pure PE film. Flexibility was sharply affected by the incorporation of CH while it increased with the use of PEG and PE-g-MA. Thermal stability recovered with the use of PE-g-MA compared to the plasticized PE/CH film. The crystallinity increased with the incorporation of CH. Contact angle and water permeability increased with CH and PEG addition to PE and reduced with the addition of PE-g-MA. Oxygen permeability decreased by about 50% with the addition of CH into PE. FTIR analysis indicated that there is an interaction between amino groups of CH and maleic anhydride groups. The use of PEG and PE-g-MA improved the compatibility of the PE/CH blends as showed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This study revealed that PE-g-MA had obvious positive effects on the mechanical, thermal, barrier, and structural properties of PE/CH blend films. The blend films can be a good candidate in the packaging industry due to biodegradable and non-toxic properties of chitosan. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].