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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2012, Article ID 454359, 9 pages
Research Article

Wheat Gluten-Laminated Paperboard with Improved Moisture Barrier Properties: A New Concept Using a Plasticizer (Glycerol) Containing a Hydrophobic Component (Oleic Acid)

1Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
2Innventia, P.O. Box 5604, 114 86 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 15 October 2011; Revised 27 March 2012; Accepted 30 March 2012

Academic Editor: Wen Fu Lee

Copyright © 2012 Sung-Woo Cho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a novel approach to reduce the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) and water absorbance of wheat gluten/paperboard laminates by introducing a hydrophobic component (oleic acid (OA)) into the hydrophilic plasticizer (glycerol). Whereas the paperboard showed immeasurably high WVTR, the laminate with gluten/glycerol yielded finite values. More importantly, by incorporating 75 wt.% OA into the plasticizer, the WVTR and water absorbance were reduced by, respectively, a factor of three and 1.5–2. Of particular interest was that the mechanical properties were not changing dramatically between 0 and 50 wt.% OA. The results showed clear benefits of combining a gluten film with paperboard. Whereas the paperboard provided toughness, the WG layer contributed with improved moisture barrier properties. In addition, WVTR indicated that the paperboard reduced the swelling of the outer gluten/glycerol layer in moist conditions; a free standing gluten/glycerol film would yield infinite, rather than finite, WVTR values.