The SPECIFIC project focuses on the development of a new material for food packaging, namely a film developed from a combination of polyethylene and starch. While polyethylene is very waterproof, it does not have a barrier to oxygen. Starch has a good oxygen barrier, but is not water resistant. A good mixture of both materials should significantly improve the barrier properties of the film.
A blend of thermoplastic starch and polyethylene is not just interesting due to its barrier properties – it also has positive cost and sustainability aspects. Starch can be inexpensively produced from renewable sources such as potatoes. The goal is that the biobased films developed will replace the existing films of fossil resources. The project focuses on co-continuous systems.
Rheology, moisture sensitivity and adhesiveness
To find the optimal blend, the project partners are trying to determine the main factors for changing the rheology of the blend. In addition they are looking into which concepts can be applied to reduce the moisture sensitivity of blends, and which concepts can achieve a better adhesion between the various components of the barrier film.
The project is a collaboration of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and the companies Avebe and Sabic.