Main Article Content
Permeable films and their composites were produced from a biodegradable polylactic acid blend (PLA blend) and rice husk ash (RHA) fillers. These permeable films were designed for fruit packaging applications. The composite films were prepared by melt-compounding a biodegradable PLA blend with 0, 5, 10, and 20 wt% RHA fillers before subjecting the compounds to a film blowing processing with simultaneous film stretching at various screw speeds of the nip roll (150, 250, 350 and 400 rpm). The effects of RHA content and screw speed on the mechanical properties, oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) of the PLA blend /RHA composite films were investigated. The results indicated that increasing RHA content led to an increased maximum tensile strength and percentage elongation at break of PLA blend / RHA composite films regardless of the stretching speed. For PLA blend /RHA composite films containing the same amount of RHA, it was observed that increasing the stretching speed resulted in higher WVTR and OTR values. The packaging application test indicated that the PLA blend /RHA composite film containing 20 wt% RHA made with a low screw speed of 150 rpm could preserve bananas for up to 14 days whereas the conventional LLDPE film was able to keep the freshness of bananas for only up to 8 days.
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