NC State
Patel, S. V., Venditti, R. A., and Pawlak, J. J. (2010). "Dimensional changes of starch microcellular foam during the exchange of water with ethanol and subsequent drying," BioRes. 5(1), 121-134.


Starch microcellular foams (SMCF) containing pores in the micron size range may be prepared by pore-preserving drying processes, developing highly porous, high specific surface area materials useful for applications such as opacifying pigments or as adsorbent materials. The objective of this research was to understand how the exchange of water with ethanol, used as a pore preserving step, affected the dimensional properties of the starch material during and after processing. SMCF were prepared from molded aquagels of cooked corn starch that were subjected to ethanol exchanges with different time intervals (6, 12, or 48 hrs) and number of exchanges (1, 2, or 3) and then air dried. To study the transformation of water-swollen starch into precipitated starch foam in ethanol, the volume of the starch material was measured in the wet state after each exchange and after final air drying. As water is replaced by ethanol, the starch material contracts, with the greatest contraction during the first ethanol exchange. The amount of contraction during air drying decreased with decreased starch water content just before air drying, presumably due to less pore collapse of the stiffer cell walls on drying. Interestingly, the minimum density of 0.37 g/cc SMCF was for the 12 hour exchange time, not the longest exchange time. Evidence of a skin-core morphology included SEM images as well as dimensional instability data on dried samples. The results indicate that SMCF of low density with fewer tendencies to deform during drying does not necessarily require extremely long exchange times.
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