Nanoscale self-assembly of starch phase relations, formation, and structure /

by Creek, John A.

Abstract (Summary)
iii This project has been undertaken to develop a fundamental understanding of the spherulitic self-assembly of starch polymers from aqueous solution, both as a model for starch granule initiation in vivo and as a biologically-inspired material with applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Botanical starches were observed to form semi-crystalline spherulites from aqueous solution when cooled after a high temperature treatment, and the processes resulting in spherulite formation were investigated. Based on the influence of cooling rate on spherulite formation from a botanical starch, liquid-liquid demixing in competition with crystallization was proposed as the mechanism leading to spherulite formation (summarized in a hypothetical phase diagram). Study of amylose and amylopectin self-assembly demonstrated that the linear polymer plays the primary role in forming spherulites. As a result, the roles of degree of polymerization, concentration, and thermal processing conditions on amylose selfassembly were explored. Thermal properties, final system morphology, and crystalline allomorph were characterized. In all cases the experimental findings supported the proposed phase diagram. Finally, the crystalline nanostructure of the spherulites was probed using atomic force microscopy (AFM), revealing a seemingly universal level of structure in crystalline starch materials. This was compared to an existing model of crystallization for synthetic polymers involving a transitional liquid crystalline-like ordering – a comparison that makes sense in light of the known helical structure of starch.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.