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Understanding the effects of crosslinking and reinforcement agents on the performance and durability of biopolymer films for cultural heritage protection


In the last two decades, the naturally occurring polysaccharides, such as chitosan and pectin, have gained great attention having potential applications in different sectors, from biomedical to new generation packaging. Currently, the chitosan and pectic have been proposed as suitable materials also for the formulation of films and coatings for cultural heritage protection, as well as packaging films. Therefore, the formulation of biopolymer films, considering only naturally occurring polymers and additives, is a current challenging trend. This work reports on the formulation of chitosan (CS), pectin (PC), and chitosan:pectin (CS:PC) films, also containing natural crosslinking and reinforcement agents, such as citric acid (CA) and halloysite nanotubes (HNT), through the solvent casting technique. The produced films are characterized through water contact angle measurements, infrared and UV–visible spectroscopy and tensile test, while the durability of the CS:PC films is evaluated subjecting the film to accelerated UVB exposure and monitoring the photo‐oxidation degradation in time though infrared spectroscopy. All obtained results suggest that both crosslinking and reinforcement agents have beneficial effects on the wettability, rigidity, and photo‐oxidation resistance of biopolymer films. Therefore, these biopolymer films, also containing naturally occurring additives, have good properties and performance and they are suitable as coverage films for cultural heritage protection.