Exploring the effect of humidity on thermoplastic starch films using the quartz crystal microbalance

Matthew D. Eaton, Daniel Domene-López, Qifeng Wang, Mercedes G. Montalbán, Ignacio Martin-Gullon, Kenneth R. Shull*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) is used as a non-destructive and efficient characterization tool for thin thermoplastic starch (TPS) films. Thin TPS films (1-2 μm) were prepared with 30% (w/w starch) plasticizers using either glycerol or an ionic liquid, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidiazolium acetate ([emim+][Ac]), as the plasticizer. The differences in the mechanical properties and environmental effects on the plasticized TPS films were explored. The modulus of starch-glycerol films was higher than starch-[emim+][Ac], consistent with literature data and bulk AFM measurements, likely due to superior plasticization by the ionic liquid. The starch-[emim+][Ac] films were shown to have relative stable properties at low humidity that may be due to some antiplasticization effects at low water content despite absorbing more water than starch-glycerol films at higher humidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117727
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Humidity
  • Phase behavior
  • QCM
  • Quartz crystal microbalance
  • Swelling
  • Thermoplastic starch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry


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