This study examined the development of starch/oil palm empty fruit bunch-based bioplastic composites reinforced with either epoxidized palm oil (EPO) or epoxidized soybean oil (ESO), at various concentrations, in order to improve the mechanical and water-resistance properties of the bio-composites. The SEM micrographs showed that low content (0.75 wt%) of epoxidized oils (EOs), especially ESO, improved the compatibility of the composites, while high content (3 wt%) of EO induced many voids. The melting temperature of the composites was increased by the incorporation of both EOs. Thermal stability of the bioplastics was increased by the introduction of ESO. Low contents of EO led to a huge enhancement of tensile strength, while higher contents of EO showed a negative effect, due to the phase separation. The tensile strength increased from 0.83 MPa of the control sample to 3.92 and 5.42 MPa for the composites with 1.5 wt% EPO and 0.75 wt% ESO, respectively. EOs reduced the composites' water uptake and solubility but increased the water vapor permeability. Overall, the reinforcing effect of ESO was better than EPO. These results suggested that both EOs can be utilized as modifiers to prepare starch/empty-fruit-bunch-based bioplastic composites with enhanced properties.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.