Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

K. Muthukumarappan


bioplastics, bioresin, Star-shaped, synthesis, thermomechanical properties, thermoset


Increasing attentions toward sustainable development, economic and environmental issues have led to many attempts at replacing the petroleum-based materials with renewables. Substitution of petroleum-based platforms with green alternative technologies is beneficiary in different ways. Using bio-renewables reduces the dependency of the national plastic industry to the petroleum resources and substantially promotes the environmental profile and sustainability of the product. It is expected that the emergence of the corn-based thermosetting industry generates substantial profits for the corn production sector. Developments in the emerging biobased thermosets are spectacular from a technological point of view. However, there are still several disadvantages associated with the current biobased thermosetting resins, e.g. low processability, environmental issues, expensive sources and poor thermomechanical properties. Use of natural fibers not only contributes to the production of a more environmentally friendly product, but also has advantages such as low-weight product and low manufacturing costs. The results of this study show a possibility of production of biocomposites made from natural fibers and star-shaped resin, synthesized from corn-based materials (lactic acid and itaconic acid) and different multihydroxyl core molecules. These resins were synthesized via two-steps strategy: polycondensation of the monomers with the core molecules followed by end-functionalization of the branches by methacrylic anhydride or itaconic acid. The results have shown that these resin are capable of competing with or even surpassing fossil fuel based resins in terms of cost and eco-friendliness aspect. Inexpensive biobased raw material, better environmental profile, low viscosity, and better processability of the matrix along with better thermomechanical properties of the produced biocomposites are of advantages expected for these systems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Thermosetting composites.
Biodegradable plastics.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 287-316)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright