A detailed investigation of the effect of calcium crosslinking and glycerol plasticizing on the physical properties of alginate films

Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 Apr 1;148:49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.01.103. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


Alginates attract growing interest due to their biocompatible and biodegradable nature. Here, a wide spectrum of glycerol added alginate films (from 0 to 30% w/w, glycerol/alginate) were prepared and crosslinked by four different concentrations of calcium chloride solutions (0.5, 1, 1.5, 2%, w/w). This is the first investigation involving variation of both the plasticizer and crosslinker concentrations in twenty different compositions. It is shown that glycerol and calcium have a synergic effect on the mechanical properties and the behavior of crosslinked and plasticized alginate films cannot be predicted by studies, which vary only one of these, keeping the other constant. Without glycerol, crosslinking had a negligible effect on tensile behavior, but with glycerol addition, the effect of crosslinking became evident in mechanical properties. Calcium and glycerol concentrations exhibited a combined effect, displaying optimum combinations with good strength and fracture strain properties. Crosslinking increased the thermal resistance of all films. Low crosslinked high swelling films and highly crosslinked low swelling films were prepared. Water vapor permeability of films decreased regularly with increasing calcium concentration. The films exhibited high transmittance in the visible region. The results showed that alginate films have an appreciable potential in wound dressing and food packaging applications.

Keywords: Alginate films; Crosslinking; Food packaging; Wound dressing.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / chemistry*
  • Bandages
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium Chloride / chemistry*
  • Food Packaging
  • Glycerol / chemistry*
  • Permeability
  • Physical Phenomena
  • Plasticizers / chemistry*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Steam


  • Alginates
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Plasticizers
  • Steam
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Glycerol
  • Calcium