Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 19410

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Scotland’s Rural College, Biorefining and Advanced Materials Research Centre, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
Interests: biorefining, chemistry, nanotechnology, biomass and waste; biomedical engineering; composites; sensors; manufacturing of functional materials; aerospace materials; nanomaterials; renewable energy; smart materials; surface engineering; water science and engineering; additive manufacturing of polymers and composites; multifunctional polymer composites and nanocomposites: self-healing, nanoelectronic materials; hydrogels; membranes; nanofiber; composites for extreme environments and manufacturing technology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 21st century poses vast challenges for researchers all around the globe, especially regarding the effective use of sustainable polymers and their materials for different applications. With this focus, sustainable polymers and composites from biorenewable sources are now rising as one of the most feasible alternatives to traditional synthetic polymers/materials for a variety of industrial applications.

This Special Issue of Polymers will cover the most recent advancements in the bio-based polymers and respective materials. Potential topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Biorefining and biorefineries
  • Biopolymers
  • Biocomposites; natural rubber
  • Biobased additives for polymers
  • Green chemicals precursors
  • Multifunctional or smart biobased polymers and composites
  • New insights into the sustainable polymers and their applications
  • Natural fiber-based polymers and composites
  • Polymer blends from natural resources
  • Rational design and understanding of sustainable polymers from different biorenewable resources
  • Synthesis and characterization of natural fiber-derived cellulosic materials (micro/nano)

Prof. Dr. Vijay Kumar Thakur
Guest Editor/Editorial Board Member

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

  • Analysis and characterization of bio-based polymers and composites
  • Biomass
  • Biodegradable matrices
  • Biodegradability, durability, and aging of bio-based polymers and composites
  • Bio-based resins
  • Eco-friendly natural polymers
  • Interphase
  • Mechanical properties
  • Non-fossil resources
  • Novel biocomposites
  • LCA and theoretical study of biobased polymers and composites
  • Micromechanics
  • Synthesis of bio-based polymers
  • Sustainable materials

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 7009 KiB  
Article
Attaining Toughness and Reduced Electrical Percolation Thresholds in Bio-Based PA410 by Combined Addition of Bio-Based Thermoplastic Elastomers and CNTs
by Itziar Otaegi, Nora Aranburu and Gonzalo Guerrica-Echevarría
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3420; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193420 - 05 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1845
Abstract
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were added to provide electrical conductivity to bio-based polymer blends with improved toughness (based on commercially available Pebax thermoplastic elastomers and bio-based polyamide 4,10). A preliminary study including three different Pebax grades was carried out to select the grade [...] Read more.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were added to provide electrical conductivity to bio-based polymer blends with improved toughness (based on commercially available Pebax thermoplastic elastomers and bio-based polyamide 4,10). A preliminary study including three different Pebax grades was carried out to select the grade and the composition that would best improve the impact properties of PA410. Thus, tough multiphasic PA/Pebax/CNT nanocomposites (NCs) with enhanced electrical conductivity were obtained. The CNTs were added either: (1) in the form of pristine nanotubes or (2) in the form of a PA6-based masterbatch. Hence, PA410/Pebax/CNT ternary NCs and PA410/PA6/Pebax/CNT quaternary NCs were obtained, respectively, up to a CNT content of 1 wt%. The ternary and quaternary NCs both showed similar mechanical and electrical properties. The electrical percolation threshold decreased with respect to previously studied corresponding NCs without Pebax, i.e., PA410/CNT and PA410/PA6/CNT, due to the partial volume exclusion effect of Pebax over the CNTs that were dispersed mainly in the PA matrix; materials with percolation concentrations as low as 0.38 wt% were obtained. With respect to mechanical properties, contrary to the NCs without Pebax, all the PA/Pebax/CNT NCs showed a ductile behavior and impact strength values that were from three to five-fold higher than that of the pure PA410. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources)
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12 pages, 4571 KiB  
Article
Extraction of Microcrystalline Cellulose from Washingtonia Fibre and Its Characterization
by Naved Azum, Mohammad Jawaid, Lau Kia Kian, Anish Khan and Maha Moteb Alotaibi
Polymers 2021, 13(18), 3030; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13183030 - 08 Sep 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2793
Abstract
Washingtonia is a desert plant with great sustainability and renewability in nature and is abundantly cultivated across global urban regions. Its fibre biomass comprises cellulose as the major structural part, and this is why it can be potentially utilized as an alternative biomaterial [...] Read more.
Washingtonia is a desert plant with great sustainability and renewability in nature and is abundantly cultivated across global urban regions. Its fibre biomass comprises cellulose as the major structural part, and this is why it can be potentially utilized as an alternative biomaterial for manufacturing microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) products that can be widely applied in industrial fields. In the present study, NaOH-treated Washingtonia fibre (WAKL), NaClO2-treated Washingtonia fibre (WBLH), and Washingtonia microcrystalline cellulose (WMCC) were extracted through combined treatments of alkalization, bleaching, and acidic hydrolysis, respectively. The obtained chemically treated fibre samples were subjected to characterization to investigate their morphology, physico-chemistry, and thermal stability. In a morphological examination, the large bunch WAKL fibre reduced into small size WMCC fibrils, evidencing that the lignin and hemicellulose components were greatly eliminated through chemical dissolution. The elemental composition revealed that almost all impurities of anions and cations had been removed, particularly for the WMCC sample, showing its high purity of cellulose content. Additionally, the WMCC sample could attain at 25% yield, giving it the advantage for feasible economic production. Furthermore, the physicochemical analysis, Fourier Transform Infrared-ray (FTIR), indicated the presence of a crystalline cellulose region within the WMCC structure, which had promoted it with high crystallinity of 72.6% as examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD). As for thermal analysis, WMCC showed greater thermal stability comparing to WAKL and WBLC samples at high temperature. Therefore, Washingtonia fibre can be a reliable biosubstituent to replace other plant material for MCC production in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources)
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21 pages, 5189 KiB  
Article
Value-Added Use of Invasive Plant-Derived Fibers as PHBV Fillers for Biocomposite Development
by Xiaoying Zhao, Tolulope Lawal, Mariane M. Rodrigues, Talen Geib and Yael Vodovotz
Polymers 2021, 13(12), 1975; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13121975 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1890
Abstract
Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) is a promising biobased, biodegradable thermoplastic with limited industrial applications due to its brittleness and high cost. To improve these properties, lignocellulosic fibers from two invasive plants (Phalaris arundinacea and Lonicera japonica) were used as PHBV reinforcing agents. Alkali [...] Read more.
Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) is a promising biobased, biodegradable thermoplastic with limited industrial applications due to its brittleness and high cost. To improve these properties, lignocellulosic fibers from two invasive plants (Phalaris arundinacea and Lonicera japonica) were used as PHBV reinforcing agents. Alkali treatment of the fibers improved the PHBV–fiber interfacial bond by up to 300%. The morphological, mechanical, and thermal properties of the treated fibers were characterized, as well as their size, loading, and type, to understand their impact on performance of the biocomposites. The new biocomposites had improved thermal stability, restricted crystallization, reduced rigidity, and reduced cost compared with PHBV. Additionally, these novel biocomposites performed similarly to conventional plastics such as polypropylene, suggesting their potential as bio-alternatives for industrial applications such as semirigid packaging and lightweight auto body panels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources)
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14 pages, 7138 KiB  
Article
Towards Next-Generation Sustainable Composites Made of Recycled Rubber, Cenospheres, and Biobinder
by Kristine Irtiseva, Vjaceslavs Lapkovskis, Viktors Mironovs, Jurijs Ozolins, Vijay Kumar Thakur, Gaurav Goel, Janis Baronins and Andrei Shishkin
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040574 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3105
Abstract
The utilisation of industrial residual products to develop new value-added materials and reduce their environmental footprint is one of the critical challenges of science and industry. Development of new multifunctional and bio-based composite materials is an excellent opportunity for the effective utilisation of [...] Read more.
The utilisation of industrial residual products to develop new value-added materials and reduce their environmental footprint is one of the critical challenges of science and industry. Development of new multifunctional and bio-based composite materials is an excellent opportunity for the effective utilisation of residual industrial products and a right step in the Green Deal’s direction as approved by the European Commission. Keeping the various issues in mind, we describe the manufacturing and characterisation of the three-component bio-based composites in this work. The key components are a bio-based binder made of peat, devulcanised crumb rubber (DCR) from used tyres, and part of the fly ash, i.e., the cenosphere (CS). The three-phase composites were prepared in the form of a block to investigate their mechanical properties and density, and in the form of granules for the determination of the sorption of water and oil products. We also investigated the properties’ dependence on the DCR and CS fraction. It was found that the maximum compression strength (in block form) observed for the composition without CS and DCR addition was 79.3 MPa, while the second-highest value of compression strength was 11.2 MPa for the composition with 27.3 wt.% of CS. For compositions with a bio-binder content from 17.4 to 55.8 wt.%, and with DCR contents ranging from 11.0 to 62.0 wt.%, the compressive strength was in the range from 1.1 to 2.0 MPa. Liquid-sorption analysis (water and diesel) showed that the maximum saturation of liquids, in both cases, was set after 35 min and ranged from 1.05 to 1.4 g·g −1 for water, and 0.77 to 1.25 g·g−1 for diesel. It was observed that 90% of the maximum saturation with diesel fuel came after 10 min and for water after 35 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources)
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11 pages, 2668 KiB  
Article
On the Heuristic Procedure to Determine Processing Parameters in Additive Manufacturing Based on Materials Extrusion
by Georgijs Bakradze, Egīls Arājs, Sergejs Gaidukovs and Vijay Kumar Thakur
Polymers 2020, 12(12), 3009; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12123009 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2672
Abstract
We present a heuristic procedure for determining key processing parameters (PPs) in materials-extrusion-based additive manufacturing processes. The concept relies on a design-of-experiment approach and consists of eleven “test objects” to determine the optimal combinations of key PPs values, starting with the PPs for [...] Read more.
We present a heuristic procedure for determining key processing parameters (PPs) in materials-extrusion-based additive manufacturing processes. The concept relies on a design-of-experiment approach and consists of eleven “test objects” to determine the optimal combinations of key PPs values, starting with the PPs for printing the first layer and progressing to more complex geometric features, e.g., “bridges”. In each of the test objects, several combinations of the known PPs’ values are used, and only the values resulting in the best printed-part quality are selected for the following tests. The concept is intrinsically insensitive to different artefacts of the additive manufacturing machine (e.g., discrepancies between the nominal and actual nozzle diameters, and improper calibration of the feeding screws) and the optimal values of key PPs for manufacturing defect-free parts under the actual processing conditions can be determined. We validated the proposed procedure for two common commercial polymer feedstock materials, and we show that, by using the proposed procedure, it is possible to reduce the optimization time down to several hours, as well as to reduce the amount of consumed feedstock material. Tensile tests revealed a strong effect of amorphous and semi-crystalline nature of the polymer on the results of optimization. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to describe a systematic approach for optimizing PPs for materials extrusion-based additive manufacturing processes without relying on statistical data analysis or virtual simulations. The concept was implemented as a web-tool 3DOptimizer®. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources)
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Review

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23 pages, 6016 KiB  
Review
Biopolymers for Biological Control of Plant Pathogens: Advances in Microencapsulation of Beneficial Microorganisms
by Roohallah Saberi-Riseh, Mojde Moradi-Pour, Reza Mohammadinejad and Vijay Kumar Thakur
Polymers 2021, 13(12), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13121938 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 43 | Viewed by 5962
Abstract
The use of biofertilizers, including biocontrol agents such as Pseudomonas and Bacillus in agriculture can increase soil characteristics and plant acquisition of nutrients and enhancement the efficiency of manure and mineral fertilizer. Despite the problems that liquid and solid formulations have in maintaining [...] Read more.
The use of biofertilizers, including biocontrol agents such as Pseudomonas and Bacillus in agriculture can increase soil characteristics and plant acquisition of nutrients and enhancement the efficiency of manure and mineral fertilizer. Despite the problems that liquid and solid formulations have in maintaining the viability of microbial agents, encapsulation can improve their application with extended shelf-life, and controlled release from formulations. Research into novel formulation methods especially encapsulation techniques has increased in recent years due to the mounting demand for microbial biological control. The application of polymeric materials in agriculture has developed recently as a replacement for traditional materials and considered an improvement in technological processes in the growing of crops. This study aims to overview of types of biopolymers and methods used for encapsulation of living biological control agents, especially microbial organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Polymers and Composites from Biorenewable Resources)
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