Development of Sustainable Polymer Materials from Renewable and Waste Resources

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Circular and Green Polymer Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 August 2023) | Viewed by 29952

Special Issue Editors

Department of Environmental Engineering, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan
Interests: synthesis and fabrication of functional membrane; membrane reactor; membranes for energy and environmental applications; membrane processes for a circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Advanced Research Center for Green Materials Science and Technology and Department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
Interests: inorganic membrane fabrication; membrane filtration mechanism; membrane module design; multiscale simulation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai 81310, Johor, Malaysia
Interests: Polymeric hollow fiber membrane fabrication and characterization; Wastewater Treatment; Membrane contactor; Membrane Separation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Bioorganic Compounds and Nanocomposites, Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the CAS, v. v. i., Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: new composite materials; gas separation; transport in polymeric, inorganic and liquid membranes; dendrimers; ionic liquids

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the fossil fuel depletion and polymeric waste accumulation generated from day to day, the development of sustainable polymer materials from renewable resources and waste resources has led to a continuously growing interest.

Synthesis of sustainable polymer materials from renewable resource is one of the main approaches including biorefinery, isolating from natural biopolymers or synthesis from bio-based monomers, and activating and polymerizing carbon dioxide. Thus, from the bio-based monomer/polymer to polymeric materials, bio-based composites with specific functional properties can be formed from copolymerization, blending, tailored by bio-based additives.

Polymer recycling is another approach to treat waste as a valuable resource because most polymer materials are made from fossil fuel. The current pathways for recycling polymers are via both mechanical and chemical recycling, which depend on the predominant industrial technologies, design strategies, and recycling purpose of specific waste streams. For example, recycling of solid plastic waste (SPW) from post-consumer packaging, end-of-life vehicles or electr(on)ic devices are mainly via mechanical recycling; however, it is still a challenge (sorting technology) because of the thermomechanical or lifetime degradation and the immiscibility of polymer blends. Another pathway is to recover energy from waste polymer via chemical recycling techniques such as chemolysis, pyrolysis, fluid catalytic cracking hydrogen techniques and gasification.

The aim of this Special Issue is to establish the life cycle of polymer, highlighting the progress on recycling technology, synthesis, characterization, properties of polymer materials from renewable resources, especially from waste resources, application of renewable polymer, and pollutant treatment during the recycling and synthesis process.

Prof. Hui-Hsin Tseng
Prof. Kuo-Lun Tung
Prof. Woei Jye Lau
Dr. Katerina Setnickova
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 materials from waste resources, such as waster plastic, waste rubber, etc.
  • Polymer materials from renewable resources, such as biopolymers, bio-based monomers, etc.
    • Chitosan, lignin, cellulose, ect.
  • New Process for recycling of waste from polymer materials, such as mechanical, chemical, biological, etc. concepts
  • New applications for sustainable polymer materials:
    • Membranes for filtration/separation systems
    • Foam for drug (gene) delivery
    • Porous materials for adsorption, absorption systems
    • Other new applications
  • New methods for pollutant treatment during recycling of waste polymer materials

Published Papers (11 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

21 pages, 3572 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Influencing Factors of the Efficient Degradation of Waste Polyurethane and Its Scheme Optimization
Polymers 2023, 15(10), 2337; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15102337 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1349
Abstract
This work proposes an efficient catalytic recovery and utilization method for waste polyurethane foam. This method uses ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PPG) as two-component alcohololytic agents for the alcoholysis of waste polyurethane foams. For the preparation of recycled polyethers, the conditions [...] Read more.
This work proposes an efficient catalytic recovery and utilization method for waste polyurethane foam. This method uses ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PPG) as two-component alcohololytic agents for the alcoholysis of waste polyurethane foams. For the preparation of recycled polyethers, the conditions of different catalytic degradation systems were catalyzed by duplex metal catalysts (DMC) and alkali metal catalysts, and a synergy with both was also used. The experimental method was adopted with the blank control group and was set up for comparative analysis. The effect of the catalysts on the recycling of waste polyurethane foam was investigated. The catalytic degradation of DMC and the alkali metal catalysts alone, as well as the synergistic effect of the two catalysts, was explored. The findings revealed that the NaOH and DMC synergistic catalytic system was the best, and that the system activity was high under a two-component catalyst synergistic degradation. When the amount of NaOH added in the degradation system was 0.25%, the amount of DMC added was 0.04%, the reaction time was 2.5 h, and the reaction temperature was 160 °C, the waste polyurethane foam was completely alcoholized, and the prepared regenerated polyurethane foam had high compressive strength and good thermal stability. The efficient catalytic recycling method of waste polyurethane foam proposed in this paper has certain guiding and reference values for the practical production of solid-waste-recycled polyurethane. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 1355 KiB  
Article
Synthesis, Characterization, and Gas Adsorption Performance of Amine-Functionalized Styrene-Based Porous Polymers
Polymers 2023, 15(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15010013 - 20 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1686
Abstract
In recent years, porous materials have been extensively studied by the scientific community owing to their excellent properties and potential use in many different areas, such as gas separation and adsorption. Hyper-crosslinked porous polymers (HCLPs) have gained attention because of their high surface [...] Read more.
In recent years, porous materials have been extensively studied by the scientific community owing to their excellent properties and potential use in many different areas, such as gas separation and adsorption. Hyper-crosslinked porous polymers (HCLPs) have gained attention because of their high surface area and porosity, low density, high chemical and thermal stability, and excellent adsorption capabilities in comparison to other porous materials. Herein, we report the synthesis, characterization, and gas (particularly CO2) adsorption performance of a series of novel styrene-based HCLPs. The materials were prepared in two steps. The first step involved radical copolymerization of divinylbenzene (DVB) and 4-vinylbenzyl chloride (VBC), a non-porous gel-type polymer, which was then modified by hyper-crosslinking, generating micropores with a high surface area of more than 700 m2 g−1. In the following step, the polymer was impregnated with various polyamines that reacted with residual alkyl chloride groups on the pore walls. This impregnation substantially improved the CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 adsorption selectivity. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

20 pages, 5559 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Factors Influencing the Efficiency of Catalysts Used in Waste PU Degradation
Polymers 2022, 14(24), 5450; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245450 - 13 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1449
Abstract
Polyurethane (PU) is an indispensable part of people’s lives. With the development of polyurethane, the disposal of polyurethane waste has become a significant issue around the world. Conventional degradation catalysts have poor dispersion and low degradation efficiency when used in the process of [...] Read more.
Polyurethane (PU) is an indispensable part of people’s lives. With the development of polyurethane, the disposal of polyurethane waste has become a significant issue around the world. Conventional degradation catalysts have poor dispersion and low degradation efficiency when used in the process of solid degradation into liquid. Therefore, this paper innovatively adopts self-made core–shell nanoscale titanium catalysis, traditional alkali metal catalyst (KOH), and polyol to carry out the glycolysis of waste polyurethane (PU) pipeline foam. The homogenized nanoscale titanium catalyst coated with alcohol gel has an obvious core–shell structure. The alcohol gel not only protects the catalyst but also dissolves with the alcoholysis agent in the process of glycolysis and disperses more evenly into the alcoholysis agent to avoid the phenomenon of nanocatalyst agglomeration, so as to facilitate catalytic cracking without reducing catalyst activity. In this study, investigated and compared the production of renewable polyurethane foam via a one-step method based on use of a homogeneous core–shell nanostructured titanium catalyst vs. a traditional alkaline catalyst in terms of the properties of regenerated polyether polyols as well as of the foams produced from these polyols. The physicochemical properties of regenerated polyether polyols that were analyzed included viscosity, hydroxyl value, and average molecular weight. The regenerated polyurethane foams were characterized based on water absorption, TG, SEM, and thermal conductivity analyses. The results show that, when the addition of homogeneous titanium catalyst was T2 0.050 wt.%, the viscosity of regenerated polyether polyols was the lowest, at 5356.7 mPa·s, which was reduced by 9.97% compared with those obtained using the alkali metal catalyst (KOH). When the amount of titanium catalyst was T3 0.075 wt.%, the hard foam made of regenerated polyurethane prepared by the catalyst showed the best properties, with a compressive strength of 0.168 MPa, which is 4.76% higher than that of the foam prepared using KOH catalyst. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

19 pages, 4095 KiB  
Article
Designing New Sustainable Polyurethane Adhesives: Influence of the Nature and Content of Diels–Alder Adducts on Their Thermoreversible Behavior
Polymers 2022, 14(16), 3402; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14163402 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
With a view to the development of new sustainable and functional adhesives, two Diels–Alder (DA) adducts are incorporated as a third component into the curing process of solvent-based and solvent-free polyurethanes in this study. The influence of the nature and content of the [...] Read more.
With a view to the development of new sustainable and functional adhesives, two Diels–Alder (DA) adducts are incorporated as a third component into the curing process of solvent-based and solvent-free polyurethanes in this study. The influence of the nature and content of the DA molecules on the retro-DA (rDA) reaction and its reversibility and cyclability is investigated. It is demonstrated that the bonding/debonding properties of the adhesives are mainly controlled by the concentration of the DA adducts, with a minimum thermoreversible bond (TB) content required that depends on the system and the total ratio between all the diols in the formulation. For the solvent-based system, rDA/DA reversibility can be repeated up to ~20 times without deterioration, in contrast to the solvent-free system where a gradual loss in the DA network reconstruction efficiency is observed. Despite this limitation, the solvent-free system presents clear advantages from an environmental point of view. The changes observed in the physical properties of these new thermoreversible adhesives are of great relevance for recycling strategies and, in particular, their potential for separating multilayered film packaging materials in order to recycle the individual polymer films involved. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 2094 KiB  
Article
Extraction and Characterization of Microcrystalline Cellulose from Lagenaria siceraria Fruit Pedicles
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1867; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091867 - 02 May 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2955
Abstract
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is a versatile polymer commonly employed in food, chemical, and biomedical formulations. Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd) fruit is consumed in many parts of the world, and its pedicle is discarded as waste. In the quest for a novel renewable source [...] Read more.
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is a versatile polymer commonly employed in food, chemical, and biomedical formulations. Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd) fruit is consumed in many parts of the world, and its pedicle is discarded as waste. In the quest for a novel renewable source of the MCC, the present study investigates the extraction and characterization of MCC from the pedicle of Lagenaria siceraria fruits. The MCC was extracted by sequentially treating pedicles with water, alkali, bleaching (sodium chlorite), and dilute sulfuric acid (acid hydrolysis). The removal of associated impurities from pedicle fibers was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared analyses. The extracted MCC exhibited a characteristic crystalline structure of cellulose in X-ray diffraction with a 64.53% crystallinity index. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed the variation in the morphology of the fibers and the formation of MCC of approximately 100 µm. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) indicated higher thermal stability of MCC. MCC production from biowaste (pedicle) holds potential for application as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 3553 KiB  
Article
The Viable Fabrication of Gas Separation Membrane Used by Reclaimed Rubber from Waste Tires
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2540; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112540 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2206
Abstract
Improper disposal and storage of waste tires poses a serious threat to the environment and human health. In light of the drawbacks of the current disposal methods for waste tires, the transformation of waste material into valuable membranes has received significant attention from [...] Read more.
Improper disposal and storage of waste tires poses a serious threat to the environment and human health. In light of the drawbacks of the current disposal methods for waste tires, the transformation of waste material into valuable membranes has received significant attention from industries and the academic field. This study proposes an efficient and sustainable method to utilize reclaimed rubber from waste tires after devulcanization, as a precursor for thermally rearranged (TR) membranes. The reclaimed rubber collected from local markets was characterized by thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) and Fourier transfer infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis. The results revealed that the useable rubber in the as-received sample amounted to 57% and was classified as styrene–butadiene rubber, a type of synthetic rubber. Moreover, the gas separation measurements showed that the C7-P2.8-T250 membrane with the highest H2/CO2 selectivity of 4.0 and sufficient hydrogen permeance of 1124.61 GPU exhibited the Knudsen diffusion mechanism and crossed the Robeson trade-off limit. These findings demonstrate that reclaimed rubber is an appealing, cost effective, and sustainable alternative, as a precursor for TR membranes, for application in gas separation. The present approach is useful in the selection of a suitable reclaimed rubber precursor and related membrane preparation parameters, leading to the advancement in the recycling value of waste tires. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

11 pages, 1710 KiB  
Article
Development of Polyvinylidene Fluoride Membrane by Incorporating Bio-Based Ginger Extract as Additive
Polymers 2020, 12(9), 2003; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12092003 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 2981
Abstract
Biofouling on the membrane surface leads to performance deficiencies in membrane filtration. In this study, the application of ginger extract as a bio-based additive to enhance membrane antibiofouling properties was investigated. The extract was dispersed in a dimethyl acetamide (DMAc) solvent together with [...] Read more.
Biofouling on the membrane surface leads to performance deficiencies in membrane filtration. In this study, the application of ginger extract as a bio-based additive to enhance membrane antibiofouling properties was investigated. The extract was dispersed in a dimethyl acetamide (DMAc) solvent together with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) to enhance biofouling resistance of the resulting membrane due to its antibiotic property. The concentrations of the ginger extract in the dope solution were varied in the range of 0–0.1 wt %. The antibacterial property of the resulting membranes was assessed using the Kirby Bauer disc diffusion method. The results show an inhibition zone formed around the PVDF/ginger membrane against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus demonstrating the efficacy of the residual ginger extract in the membrane matrix to impose the antibiofouling property. The addition of the ginger extract also enhanced the hydrophilicity in the membrane surface by lowering the contact angle from 93° to 85°, which was in good agreement with the increase in the pure water flux of up to 62%. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 9894 KiB  
Article
Biopolymer-Waste Fiber Reinforcement for Earthen Materials: Capillary, Mechanical, Impact, and Abrasion Performance
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081819 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3352
Abstract
The poultry industry, highly prevalent worldwide, generates approximately 7.7 × 106 metric tons of chicken feathers (CFs), which become a major environmental challenge due to their disposal when considered waste or due to their energy transformation consumption when considered by-products. CFs are [...] Read more.
The poultry industry, highly prevalent worldwide, generates approximately 7.7 × 106 metric tons of chicken feathers (CFs), which become a major environmental challenge due to their disposal when considered waste or due to their energy transformation consumption when considered by-products. CFs are mainly composed of keratin (approximately 90%), which is one of the most important biopolymers whose inherent characteristics make CFs suitable as biopolymer fibers (BPFs). This paper first assesses the morphological and chemical characteristics of these BPFs, through scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and then evaluates the waste valorization of these BPFs as a sustainable alternative for fiber-reinforcement of earthen mixes intended for earthen construction, such as adobe masonry, rammed earth, and earthen plasters. In particular, four earthen mixes with increasing doses of BPFs (i.e., 0%, 0.25%, 0.5%, and 1% of BPFs by weight of soil) were developed to evaluate the impact of BPF-reinforcement on the capillary, mechanical, impact, and abrasion performance of these earthen mixes. The addition of BPFs did not significantly affect the mechanical performance of earthen mixes, and their incorporation had a statistically significant positive effect on the impact performance and abrasion resistance of earthen mixes as the BPF dose increased. On the other hand, the addition of BPFs increased the capillary water absorption rate, possibly due to a detected increment in porosity, which might reduce the durability of water-exposed BPF-reinforced earthen mixes, but a statistically significant increment only occurred when the highest BPF dose was used (1%). Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 3687 KiB  
Article
A Feasible Way to Produce Carbon Nanofiber by Electrospinning from Sugarcane Bagasse
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 1968; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11121968 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4428
Abstract
Recently, the nanofiber materials derived from natural polymers instead of petroleum-based polymers by electrospinning have aroused a great deal of interests. The lignocellulosic biomass could not be electrospun into nanofiber directly due to its poor solubility. Here, sugarcane bagasse (SCB) was subjected to [...] Read more.
Recently, the nanofiber materials derived from natural polymers instead of petroleum-based polymers by electrospinning have aroused a great deal of interests. The lignocellulosic biomass could not be electrospun into nanofiber directly due to its poor solubility. Here, sugarcane bagasse (SCB) was subjected to the homogeneous esterification with different anhydrides, and the corresponding esterified products (SCB-A) were obtained. It was found that the bead-free and uniform nanofibers were obtained via electrospinning even when the mass fraction of acetylated SCB was 70%. According to the thermogravimetric analyses, the addition of SCB-A could improve the thermal stability of the electrospun composite nanofibers. More importantly, in contrast to the pure polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based carbon nanofiber, the SCB-A based carbon nanofibers had higher electrical conductivity and the surface N element content. In addition, the superfine carbon nanofiber mats with minimum average diameter of 117.0 ± 13.7 nm derived from SCB-A were obtained, which results in a larger Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) surface area than pure PAN based carbon nanofiber. These results demonstrated that the combination of the homogeneous esterification and electrospinning could be a feasible and potential way to produce the bio-based carbon nanofibers directly from lignocellulosic without component separation. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

14 pages, 1877 KiB  
Article
Multiscale Simulation on Product Distribution from Pyrolysis of Styrene-Butadiene Rubber
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 1967; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11121967 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4305
Abstract
Pyrolysis of styrene-butadiene rubber receives renewed attention due to its application in tackling the waste tire disposal problem while allowing energy recovery. The density functional theory calculation (DFT) and ReaxFF molecular dynamics simulation (MD) are adopted to study the pyrolysis process with the [...] Read more.
Pyrolysis of styrene-butadiene rubber receives renewed attention due to its application in tackling the waste tire disposal problem while allowing energy recovery. The density functional theory calculation (DFT) and ReaxFF molecular dynamics simulation (MD) are adopted to study the pyrolysis process with the variation of temperature and pressure. The bond dissociation energies of intramonomer and intermonomer bonds in trimers with different linking methods are calculated by DFT, where the bond with low energy tends to break during the pyrolysis process. The following MD simulation shows the pyrolysis product distribution of chain segments in styrene-butadiene rubber, where bond breaking positions in MD agree well with corresponding results in DFT and experiment. The next nearest neighbor bonds (single bonds) connected with double bond or benzene usually have lower dissociation energies than other single bonds and prone to break during the pyrolysis process. And thus, the intermonomer bonds tend to break at relatively low temperatures (around 650 K in experiment) prior to intramonomer bonds, which result in the emergence of monomers. With the temperature increase, intramonomer bonds are broken and thus large fragments are further pyrolyzed into small ones (e.g., C2 and C). Besides, the pressure strongly influences the product distribution, where high pressures promote the occurrence of secondary reactions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

16 pages, 2453 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Alternatives for the Development of Thermoset Composites with Low Environmental Impact
Polymers 2023, 15(13), 2939; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15132939 - 04 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2592
Abstract
The current concerns of both society and the materials industries about the environmental impact of thermoset composites, as well as new legislation, have led the scientific sector to search for more sustainable alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of thermoset composites. Until now, [...] Read more.
The current concerns of both society and the materials industries about the environmental impact of thermoset composites, as well as new legislation, have led the scientific sector to search for more sustainable alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of thermoset composites. Until now, to a large extent, sustainable reinforcements have been used to manufacture more sustainable composites and thus contribute to the reduction of pollutants. However, in recent years, new alternatives have been developed, such as thermosetting resins with bio-based content and/or systems such as recyclable amines and vitrimers that enable recycling/reuse. Throughout this review, some new bio-based thermoset systems as well as new recyclable systems and sustainable reinforcements are described, and a brief overview of the biocomposites market and its impact is shown. By way of conclusion, it should be noted that although significant improvements have been achieved, other alternatives ought to be researched. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop