Scanning electron micrograph of (a) pristine SOY and (b) EA-g-SOY.
Scanning electron micrograph of (a) pristine SOY and (b) EA-g-SOY.

Soy flour, here referred as SOY, is a low-cost, environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and biorenewable material available in excess amount in the United States. However, its hydrophilic nature limits the use of SOY in many commercial applications. The present research attempts to alter the surface characteristics of SOY via free radical induced graft copolymerization with ethyl acrylate. Different reaction conditions were investigated in order to achieve an optimum degree of grafting of ethyl acrylate monomer onto the SOY. The synthesized graft copolymers were characterized by different techniques to determine the interaction mechanisms between reaction monomer and SOY. Polymer composites were subsequently fabricated to assess the potential of modified SOY for different applications. Composites reinforced by graft polymerized SOY exhibited significantly increased storage modulus.

This paper was originally published in Materials Today Communications, 1-2 (2014), Pages 34-41.

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