Potato starch nanocrystals were found to serve as an effective reinforcing agent for natural rubber (NR). Starch nanocrystals were obtained by the sulfuric acid hydrolysis of potato starch granules. After mixing the latex and the starch nanocrystals, the resulting aqueous suspension was cast into film by solvent evaporation method. The composite samples were successfully prepared by varying filler loadings, using a colloidal suspension of starch nanocrystals and NR latex. The morphology of the nanocomposite prepared was analyzed by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). FESEM analysis revealed the size and shape of the crystal and their homogeneous dispersion in the composites. The crystallinity of the nanocomposites was studied using XRD analysis which indicated an overall increase in crystallinity with filler content. The mechanical properties of the nanocomposites such as stress-strain behavior, tensile strength, tensile modulus and elongation at break were measured according to ASTM standards. The tensile strength and modulus of the composites were found to improve tremendously with increasing nanocrystal content. This dramatic increase observed can be attributed to the formation of starch nanocrystal network. This network immobilizes the polymer chains leading to an increase in the modulus and other mechanical properties.
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