Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 August 2024 | Viewed by 3944

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Polymer Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Chemistry, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Gliniana 33, 20-614 Lublin, Poland
Interests: heterogeneous polymerization techniques; investigations of porous structure of polymeric materials; chemical modification of polymers; preparation of polymeric microspheres for chromatography and separation techniques; accelerated aging test of materials; synthesis of (bio)composites; degradation studies of (bio)compossites; thermal analysis of polymers; spectroscopic analysis of polymeric materials; solid-phase extraction of synthetic and natural organic compounds; chromatographic analysis of synthetic and natural organic compounds
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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk, Republic of Korea
Interests: bioplastics; biodegradable polymers; molecularly imprinted polymers; polyhydroxyalkanoates; green synthesis of nanoparticles; bioprocess engineering
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growing environmental concerns and the search for more versatile polymer-based materials have led to increasing interest in the use of polymer composites with natural, organic, biodegradable and renewable fillers. The use of reinforcements is associated with high hopes for the design of new sustainable polymer materials with the desired properties. Therefore, numerous studies have been carried out on the production of biodegradable polymer composite materials, especially due to their unique physical and mechanical properties, which are comparable to those of pure polymer matrices. A further degree of environmental friendliness is achieved when the polymer matrix is also biodegradable and comes from renewable sources.

Additionally, while some well-known biodegradable products are available on the market, the choice is still very limited. As a result, intensive research and development on biodegradable polymer composites are carried out continuously.

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight the progress and fundamental aspects for the synthesis, characterization, fabrication, and applications of biodegradable polymer composites. I kindly invite you to submit a manuscript for this Special Issue. Reviews, original full papers, and short communications about the most current biocomposites are all welcome.

Dr. Przemysław Pączkowski
Prof. Dr. Beom Soo Kim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • polymer composites
  • nanocomposites
  • natural polymers
  • biodegradable composites
  • environmentally friendly composites
  • fabrication of composites
  • applications of composites
  • degradation studies
  • thermal properties
  • mechanical properties

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 3845 KiB  
Article
Mitigation of Soil Erosion and Enhancement of Slope Stability through the Utilization of Lignin Biopolymer
by Pouyan Bagheri, Ivan Gratchev, Masih Zolghadr, Suwon Son and Jin Man Kim
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091300 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 634
Abstract
Human activities have had a profound impact on the environment, particularly in relation to surface erosion and landslides. These processes, which are natural phenomena, have been exacerbated by human actions, leading to detrimental consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the overall health of the [...] Read more.
Human activities have had a profound impact on the environment, particularly in relation to surface erosion and landslides. These processes, which are natural phenomena, have been exacerbated by human actions, leading to detrimental consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the overall health of the planet. The use of lignin (LIG) as a biopolymer soil additive material is regarded as an eco-friendly solution against soil erosion and slope failure which holds immense promise. However, significant research gaps currently hinder a comprehensive understanding of its mechanisms and effectiveness. Experimental studies offer a robust platform to address these gaps by providing controlled conditions for assessing soil stability, exploring mechanisms, and evaluating adaptability. Bridging these research gaps will contribute to the development of innovative and sustainable strategies for mitigating soil erosion and preventing slope failure, thereby promoting environmental resilience and resource conservation. This study aimed to investigate the effect of the LIG biopolymer on mitigation of soil erosion, slope failure and the enhancement of soil strength by conducting laboratory tests (UU triaxial, unconfined compressive strength (UCS), and soaking) as well as flume experiments under uniform rainfall events. The alterations in the engineering characteristics and erosion resistance of silty soil mixed with a LIG additive at concentrations of 1% and 3.0% by weight have been examined. The results show that the LIG-treated samples demonstrated an enhanced resistance to surface erosion and an enhanced prevention of slope failure, as well as improved shear stress, cohesion, stiffness, and resistance to water infiltration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II)
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22 pages, 9080 KiB  
Article
Influence of Biogenic Material Content on the Biodegradability of Styrene-Butadiene Composites with Incorporated Chlorella vulgaris Biomass
by Marius Bumbac, Cristina Mihaela Nicolescu, Traian Zaharescu, Costel Bumbac, Elena Elisabeta Manea, Ioana Alexandra Ionescu, Ion Valentin Gurgu, Bogdan-Catalin Serban, Octavian Buiu and Crinela Dumitrescu
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1241; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091241 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Bio-fillers are intensively studied for advanced polymer composite circular design and production. In this context, the algal biomass may be considered an important and relatively low-cost resource, when harvested as a by-product from wastewater treatment plants. The biomass of the algal species Chlorella [...] Read more.
Bio-fillers are intensively studied for advanced polymer composite circular design and production. In this context, the algal biomass may be considered an important and relatively low-cost resource, when harvested as a by-product from wastewater treatment plants. The biomass of the algal species Chlorella vulgaris is frequently used in this type of environmental process, and its macro constituents’ composition ranges from around 15–25% carbohydrates, 10–20% lipids, and 50–60% proteins. Poly (styrene-butadiene-styrene) (SBS) copolymers have a matrix composed of glassy polystyrene domains connected by flexible polybutadiene segments. Although the physical-mechanical properties of SBS copolymers recommend them for many industrial applications, they have the drawback of low biodegradability. This study aimed to assess the aerobic biodegradability of polymer composites by integrating biomass from Chlorella vulgaris at varying mass percentages of 5, 10, and 20% into SBS copolymer composites. Biodegradation tests were conducted under industrial composting conditions (58 °C and 50% relative humidity) for 180 days. The biodegradability of materials was evaluated by measuring the CO2 produced in each vessel during the study period. Potential correlations between the amount of carbon dioxide released and the percentage of biomass added to the polymer matrix were examined. Structural and morphological changes were assessed using Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermal analysis (DSC), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Physical and chemical testing revealed a decrease in sample density after the industrial composting test, along with noticeable changes in melt flow index (MFI). The observed physical and chemical changes, coupled with FTIR, SEM, and DSC data, indicate increased cross-linking and higher porosity in biodegraded polymer structures with higher biomass content. This behavior is likely due to the formation of cross-linked connections between polymer chains and polypeptide chains resulting from protein degradation, enhancing connections between polystyrene units facilitated by peptide bonds with the benzene units of the styrene blocks within the polymer matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II)
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21 pages, 28016 KiB  
Article
Biodegradation Study of Styrene–Butadiene Composites with Incorporated Arthrospira platensis Biomass
by Marius Bumbac, Cristina Mihaela Nicolescu, Traian Zaharescu, Ion Valentin Gurgu, Costel Bumbac, Elena Elisabeta Manea, Ioana Alexandra Ionescu, Bogdan-Catalin Serban, Octavian Buiu and Crinela Dumitrescu
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1218; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091218 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 412
Abstract
The preparation of polymer composites that incorporate material of a biogenic nature in the polymer matrices may lead to a reduction in fossil polymer consumption and a potentially higher biodegradability. Furthermore, microalgae biomass as biogenic filler has the advantage of fast growth and [...] Read more.
The preparation of polymer composites that incorporate material of a biogenic nature in the polymer matrices may lead to a reduction in fossil polymer consumption and a potentially higher biodegradability. Furthermore, microalgae biomass as biogenic filler has the advantage of fast growth and high tolerance to different types of culture media with higher production yields than those provided by the biomass of terrestrial crops. On the other hand, algal biomass can be a secondary product in wastewater treatment processes. For the present study, an SBS polymer composite (SBSC) containing 25% (w/w) copolymer SBS1 (linear copolymer: 30% styrene and 70% butadiene), 50% (w/w) copolymer SBS2 (linear copolymer: 40% styrene and 60% butadiene), and 25% (w/w) paraffin oil was prepared. Arthrospira platensis biomass (moisture content 6.0 ± 0.5%) was incorporated into the SBSC in 5, 10, 20, and 30% (w/w) ratios to obtain polymer composites with spirulina biomass. For the biodegradation studies, the ISO 14855-1:2012(E) standard was applied, with slight changes, as per the specificity of our experiments. The degradation of the studied materials was followed by quantitatively monitoring the CO2 resulting from the degradation process and captured by absorption in NaOH solution 0.5 mol/L. The structural and morphological changes induced by the industrial composting test on the materials were followed by physical–mechanical, FTIR, SEM, and DSC analysis. The obtained results were compared to create a picture of the material transformation during the composting period. Thus, the collected data indicate two biodegradation processes, of the polymer and the biomass, which take place at the same time at different rates, which influence each other. On the other hand, it is found that the material becomes less ordered, with a sponge-like morphology; the increase in the percentage of biomass leads to an advanced degree of degradation of the material. The FTIR analysis data suggest the possibility of the formation of peptide bonds between the aromatic nuclei in the styrene block and the molecular residues resulting from biomass biodegradation. It seems that in industrial composting conditions, the area of the polystyrene blocks from the SBS-based composite is preferentially transformed in the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II)
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17 pages, 6113 KiB  
Article
Thermally-Activated Shape Memory Behavior of Biodegradable Blends Based on Plasticized PLA and Thermoplastic Starch
by Valentina Sessini, Valentina Salaris, Victor Oliver-Cuenca, Agnieszka Tercjak, Stefano Fiori, Daniel López, José M. Kenny and Laura Peponi
Polymers 2024, 16(8), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16081107 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Biodegradable blends based on plasticized poly(lactic acid) PLA and thermoplastic starch (TPS) have been obtained. The influence of the PLA plasticizer as a compatibility agent has been studied by using two different plasticizers such as neat oligomeric lactic acid (OLA) and functionalized with [...] Read more.
Biodegradable blends based on plasticized poly(lactic acid) PLA and thermoplastic starch (TPS) have been obtained. The influence of the PLA plasticizer as a compatibility agent has been studied by using two different plasticizers such as neat oligomeric lactic acid (OLA) and functionalized with maleic acid (mOLA). In particular, the morphological, thermal, and mechanical properties have been studied as well as the shape memory ability of the melt-processed materials. Therefore, the influence of the interaction between different plasticizers and the PLA matrix as well as the compatibility between the two polymeric phases on the thermally-activated shape memory properties have been studied. It is very interesting to use the same additive able to act as both plasticizer and compatibilizer, decreasing the glass transition temperature of PLA to a temperature close to the physiological one, obtaining a material suitable for potential biomedical applications. In particular, we obtain that OLA-plasticized blend (oPLA/TPS) show very good thermally-activated capability at 45 °C and 50% deformation, while the blend obtained by using maleic OLA (moPLA/TPS) did not show shape memory behavior at 45 °C and 50% deformation. This fact is due to their morphological changes and the loss of two well-distinguished phases, one acting as fixed phase and the other one acting as switching phase to typically obtain shape memory response. Therefore, the thermally-activated shape memory results show that it is very important to make a balance between plasticizer and compatibilizer, considering the need of two well-established phases to obtain shape memory response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II)
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Review

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33 pages, 3969 KiB  
Review
On the Mechanism of the Ionizing Radiation-Induced Degradation and Recycling of Cellulose
by Richard List, Lorelis Gonzalez-Lopez, Aiysha Ashfaq, Amira Zaouak, Mark Driscoll and Mohamad Al-Sheikhly
Polymers 2023, 15(23), 4483; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15234483 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1051
Abstract
The use of ionizing radiation offers a boundless range of applications for polymer scientists, from inducing crosslinking and/or degradation to grafting a wide variety of monomers onto polymeric chains. This review in particular aims to introduce the field of ionizing radiation as it [...] Read more.
The use of ionizing radiation offers a boundless range of applications for polymer scientists, from inducing crosslinking and/or degradation to grafting a wide variety of monomers onto polymeric chains. This review in particular aims to introduce the field of ionizing radiation as it relates to the degradation and recycling of cellulose and its derivatives. The review discusses the main mechanisms of the radiolytic sessions of the cellulose molecules in the presence and absence of water. During the radiolysis of cellulose, in the absence of water, the primary and secondary electrons from the electron beam, and the photoelectric, Compton effect electrons from gamma radiolysis attack the glycosidic bonds (C-O-C) on the backbone of the cellulose chains. This radiation-induced session results in the formation of alkoxyl radicals and C-centered radicals. In the presence of water, the radiolytically produced hydroxyl radicals (OH) will abstract hydrogen atoms, leading to the formation of C-centered radicals, which undergo various reactions leading to the backbone session of the cellulose. Based on the structures of the radiolytically produced free radicals in presence and absence of water, covalent grafting of vinyl monomers on the cellulose backbone is inconceivable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II)
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