The development of nanocomposites is a new strategy to improve physical properties of polymers, including mechanical strength, thermal stability, and gas barrier properties. The most promising nanoscale size fillers are montmorillonite and kaolinite clays. Graphite nanoplates are currently under study. In food packaging, a major emphasis is on the development of high barrier properties against the migration of oxygen, carbon dioxide, flavor compounds, and water vapor. Decreasing water vapor permeability is a critical issue in the development of biopolymers as sustainable packaging materials. The nanoscale plate morphology of clays and other fillers promotes the development of gas barrier properties. Several examples are cited. Challenges remain in increasing the compatibility between clays and polymers and reaching complete dispersion of nanoplates. Nanocomposites may advance the utilization of biopolymers in food packaging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science