Carbohydrate Polymers, 2019, vol 219pp. 395-404
Corn starches with different amylose/amylopectin ratios were used to explore the effect of rheological behaviors of concentrated system on the graft copolymerization of acrylamide and resultant hydrogels, which sheds a light on their reactive extrusion process. The viscoelastic moduli of starch melts increased with increasing amylose content (AC), leading to a decreased extent of micro-mixing detected by a reduced rheokinetic rate. With increasing AC, the graft efficiency was decreased but with almost similar monomer conversion (about 87.5%) and nearly equivalent graft content. XRD and SAXS spectra revealed that the extent of retrogradation of the starches were increased and two-phase separation was enhanced for hydrogels with increasing AC. Interestingly, microscopic analysis showed the superabsorbent hydrogel from the starch with AC of 50% exhibited a gridding membrane porous structure, resulting in a higher water absorbent capacity of 550 g/g. This was attributed to the moderate crosslinking and the slightly greater graft content.