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Development of Biodegradable Rigid Foams from Pineapple Field Waste

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kheng-Lim GohORCiD


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© 2023 by the authors. Pineapple materials sourced from agricultural waste have been employed to process novel bio-degradable rigid composite foams. The matrix for the foam consisted of starch extracted from pineapple stem, known for its high amylose content, while the filler comprised non-fibrous cellulosic materials sourced from pineapple leaf. In contrast to traditional methods that involve preparing a batter, this study adopted a unique approach where the starch gel containing glycerol were first formed using a household microwave oven, followed by blending the filler into the gel using a two-roll mill. The resulting mixture was then foamed at 160 °C using a compression molding machine. The foams displayed densities ranging from 0.43–0.51 g/cm3 and exhibited a highly amorphous structure. Notably, the foams demonstrated an equilibrium moisture content of approximately 8–10% and the ability to absorb 150–200% of their own weight without disintegration. Flexural strengths ranged from 1.5–4.5 MPa, varying with the filler and glycerol contents. Biodegradability tests using a soil burial method revealed complete disintegration of the foam into particles measuring 1 mm or smaller within 15 days. Moreover, to showcase practical applications, an environmentally friendly single-use foam tray was fabricated. This novel method, involving gel formation followed by filler blending, sets it apart from previous works. The findings highlight the potential of pineapple waste materials for producing sustainable bio-degradable foams with desirable properties and contribute to the field of sustainable materials.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Namphonsane A, Amornsakchai T, Chia CH, Goh KL, Thanawan S, Wongsagonsup R, Smith SM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Polymers

Year: 2023

Volume: 15

Issue: 13

Online publication date: 29/06/2023

Acceptance date: 25/06/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4360

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/polym15132895


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