Carbon-based sputtered coatings for enhanced chitosan-based films properties
Abstract In order to make bio-based packaging materials competitive in comparison to petroleum-based one, some of their properties need to be improved, among which gas permeability is of crucial importance. Thus, in this work, carbon-based coatings were applied on chitosan-based films by radiofrequency reactive magnetron sputtering aiming to improve their barrier properties. Chemical and morphological properties were evaluated in order to determine the effect of the coatings on the chemical structure, surface hydrophobicity and barrier properties of the system. Chemical analysis, performed by electron energy loss spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, suggests similar chemical characteristics among all coatings although higher incorporation of hydrogen as the acetylene flux increases was observed. On the other hand, scanning transmission electron microscopy revealed that the porosity of the carbon layer can be tailored by the acetylene flux. More importantly, the chitosan oxygen permeability showed a monotonic reduction as a function of the acetylene flux. This study opens up new opportunities to apply nanostructured coatings on bio-based polymer for enhanced oxygen barrier properties. Highlights Carbon-based coatings reduce oxygen permeability of chitosan substrates. The increase of acetylene flux increases the barrier properties of carbon coatings. Higher acetylene fluxes produce coatings with lower porosity. Carbon-based coatings maintain the water vapor permeability of chitosan. Chitosan substrate structure was preserved after the PVD process. Graphical abstract [DISPLAY OMISSION]
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