The capability of inorganic nanoparticles in acting as a reinforcing filler for polymers has attracted scientific interest for decades. This effect could be relevant in the development of biodegradable films from alginate, an abundant, biocompatible and non-toxic polysaccharide with potential packaging application as films and edible coatings. Alginate films may have their mechanical and barrier properties extended with the use of nanotechnology. In this sense, this proposal aims to develop biodegradable alginate films reinforced with brucite (Mg(OH)2) nanoparticles. Brucite is a mineral that has attracted much interest in nanotechnology due to its null toxicity, food-grade properties, facile synthesis and properties as a flame retardant and reinforcing filler. Brucite nanoparticles will be synthesized by homogeneous phase precipitation and further incorporated into alginate matrices by casting. The process for obtaining the alginate/brucite nanocomposites will be studied according to the composition variables (plasticizer content and brucite nanoparticle concentration). The microstructure and properties of alginate/brucite nanocomposites will be evaluated by X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy techniques, tensile tests, thermal analysis, water vapor permeability, among other techniques. Correlations between morphology and dimensions of brucite nanoparticles with the final properties and microstructure of the alginate/brucite nanocomposites will be established.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: