Topic Editors

Department of Chemical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Via Terracini 28, 40131 Bologna, Italy
N. N. Semenov Federal Research Center for Chemical Physics Academy of Science, 119991 Moscow, Russia

Polymers from Renewable Resources

Abstract submission deadline
closed (20 October 2022)
Manuscript submission deadline
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that about one-third of the food produced for human consumption is currently lost or wasted, resulted in an estimated approximately USD 750 billion dollars of direct costs for food producers every year. Of course, packaging plays a key role in reducing food waste and in food preservation and protection due to its innovative properties and eminent versatility of applications. Polymers and their composites as packaging plastics have made strong contributions to changing global needs and to the progress of modern technologies. However, plastic packaging is still considered in the framework of the outdated paradigm “make, use, and dispose it”, with great material and energy losses being incurred after a disposable cycle of plastic performance. Consequently, hundreds of millions of tons of plastics are lost from disposal practices and end up in the environment. The most interesting challenge for the future could be the use of food waste as a renewable resource to produce new bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers with well-tailored properties. The circular economy is based on this important and new concept: eliminate waste, rebuild natural capital, and create economic value by using and not consuming resources. This game-changing strategy will include the promotion of sustainable polymer technologies that are able to exclude plastics from fossil resources, use renewable resources obtained from food or natural wastes as principal feedstocks, reduce the presence of plastics in the environment, and increase the quality and uptake of plastic recycling. This purpose of this collection was to cover all topics related to bioplastics obtained from renewable resources, including innovative feedstock, polymerization processes, full characterization, final applications and, of course, life cycle assessment analysis. Both research papers as well as reviews on this topic are welcome, and this collection has the main aim of sharing academic and industrial efforts related to new and innovative sustainable materials and technologies.

Dr. Valentina Siracusa
Prof. Dr. Nadia Lotti
Dr. Michelina Soccio
Prof. Dr. Alexey L. Iordanskii
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • biobased polymers
  • biobased polyesters
  • biodegradable polymers
  • sustainable development
  • waste-derived materials
  • renewable resources
  • sustainable packaging
  • green composites
  • furan-based polymers
  • compostable materials

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Polymers
polymers
5.0 6.6 2009 13.7 Days CHF 2700
Sustainability
sustainability
3.9 5.8 2009 18.8 Days CHF 2400
Polysaccharides
polysaccharides
- - 2020 17.6 Days CHF 1000

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Published Papers (20 papers)

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6 pages, 209 KiB  
Editorial
“Polymers from Renewable Resources”: Key Findings from This Topic Special Issue
by Valentina Siracusa, Nadia Lotti, Michelina Soccio and Alexey L. Iordanskii
Polymers 2023, 15(15), 3300; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15153300 - 04 Aug 2023
Viewed by 2170
Abstract
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that about one-third of the food produced for human consumption is currently lost or wasted, resulted in an estimated approximately USD 750 billion of direct costs for food producers every year [...] Read more.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that about one-third of the food produced for human consumption is currently lost or wasted, resulted in an estimated approximately USD 750 billion of direct costs for food producers every year [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
15 pages, 4672 KiB  
Article
Particleboard Production from Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Steud. Grown in Portugal
by Bruno Esteves, Pedro Aires, Umut Sen, Maria da Glória Gomes, Raquel P. F. Guiné, Idalina Domingos, José Ferreira, Hélder Viana and Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes
Polymers 2023, 15(5), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15051158 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1643
Abstract
Paulownia wood has raised high attention due to its rapid growth and fire resistance. The number of plantations in Portugal has been growing, and new exploitation methods are needed. This study intends to determine the properties of particleboards made with very young Paulownia [...] Read more.
Paulownia wood has raised high attention due to its rapid growth and fire resistance. The number of plantations in Portugal has been growing, and new exploitation methods are needed. This study intends to determine the properties of particleboards made with very young Paulownia trees from Portuguese plantations. Single layer particleboards were produced with 3-year-old Paulownia trees using different processing parameters and different board composition in order to determine the best properties for use in dry environments. The standard particleboard was produced at 180 °C and a 36.3 kg/cm2 pressure for 6 min using 40 g of raw material with 10% urea-formaldehyde resin. Higher particle size lead to lower-density particleboards, while higher resin contents lead to higher density of the boards. Density has a major effect on board properties with higher densities improving mechanical properties such as bending strength, modulus of elasticity (MOE) and internal bond, lower water absorption but higher thickness swelling and thermal conductivity. Particleboards meeting the requirements for dry environment according to NP EN 312 standard, could be produced with young Paulownia wood with acceptable mechanical and thermal conductivity properties with density around 0.65 g/cm3 and a thermal conductivity of 0.115 W/mK. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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20 pages, 14611 KiB  
Article
Recycling of Nonwoven Waste Resulting from the Manufacturing Process of Hemp Fiber-Reinforced Recycled Polypropylene Composites for Upholstered Furniture Products
by Mariana Ichim, Ioan Filip, Lucia Stelea, Gabriela Lisa and Emil Ioan Muresan
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3635; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043635 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2425
Abstract
Waste recycling is a solution that reduces the environmental impact of waste landfilling or incineration. The aim of this paper is to investigate both the effect of incorporating recycled fibers obtained by defibrating 50/50 hemp/rPP nonwoven waste and the effect of the compatibilizer [...] Read more.
Waste recycling is a solution that reduces the environmental impact of waste landfilling or incineration. The aim of this paper is to investigate both the effect of incorporating recycled fibers obtained by defibrating 50/50 hemp/rPP nonwoven waste and the effect of the compatibilizer on the properties of composite materials. Composites incorporating 50% and 100% recycled fibers were treated with 2.5% and 5% maleated polypropylene (MAPP), respectively, and compared to both the untreated composites and the composite obtained by thermoforming from the nonwovens that generated the waste. The incorporation of 50% and 100% recycled fibers into composites decreased the tensile strength by 17.1–22.6%, the elongation at break by 12.4–20.1%, the flexural strength by 6.6–9%, and flexural modulus by 10.3–37%. The addition of 5% MAPP showed the greatest improvements in mechanical properties of composites containing 100% recycled fibers, as follows: 19.2% increase in tensile strength, 3.8% increase in flexural strength, and 14.8% increase in flexural modulus. Thermal analysis established that at temperatures ranging between 20 °C and 120 °C, the composites were thermally stable. SEM analysis revealed good coverage of the reinforcing fibers, and EDX analysis confirmed the presence of the compatibilizing agent in the structure of the composite material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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13 pages, 11083 KiB  
Article
Hydrolysis, Biodegradation and Ion Sorption in Binary Biocomposites of Chitosan with Polyesters: Polylactide and Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate)
by Svetlana Rogovina, Lubov Zhorina, Anastasia Yakhina, Alexey Shapagin, Alexey Iordanskii and Alexander Berlin
Polymers 2023, 15(3), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15030645 - 27 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1535
Abstract
The film binary composites polylactide (PLA)–chitosan and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB)–chitosan have been fabricated and their functional characteristics, such as hydrolysis resistance, biodegradation in soil, and ion sorption behavior have been explored. It was established that hydrolysis temperature and acidity of solutions are differently affected [...] Read more.
The film binary composites polylactide (PLA)–chitosan and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB)–chitosan have been fabricated and their functional characteristics, such as hydrolysis resistance, biodegradation in soil, and ion sorption behavior have been explored. It was established that hydrolysis temperature and acidity of solutions are differently affected by the weight loss of these two systems. Thus, in the HCl aqueous solutions, the stability of the PHB-chitosan composites is higher than the stability of the PLA-chitosan one, while the opposite situation was observed for biodegradation in soil. The sorption capacity of both composites to Fe3+ ions was investigated and it was shown that, for PHB-chitosan composites, the sorption is higher than for PLA-chitosan. It was established that kinetics of sorption obeys the pseudo-first-order equation and limiting values of sorption correspond to Henry’s Law formalism. By scanning electron microscopy (SEM), the comparative investigation of initial films and films containing sorbed ions was made and the change of films surface after Fe3+ sorption is demonstrated. The findings presented could open a new horizon in the implementation of novel functional biodegradable composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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12 pages, 1797 KiB  
Article
Development and Characterization of Sustainable Antimicrobial Films Incorporated with Natamycin and Cellulose Nanocrystals for Cheese Preservation
by Miriane Maria de Sousa, Vânia Miria C. Clemente, Rosilene Maria de S. Santos, Mariane Oliveira, José Osvaldo Ramos Silva, Laís Fernanda Batista, Clara Suprani Marques, Amanda Lélis de Souza, Éber Antônio Alves Medeiros and Nilda de Fátima Ferreira Soares
Polysaccharides 2023, 4(1), 53-64; https://doi.org/10.3390/polysaccharides4010004 - 21 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1460
Abstract
Environmental pollution and food safety are both issues of global concern. In this sense, sustainable and antimicrobial nanocomposites based on cellulose/poly (vinyl alcohol) blend incorporated with natamycin and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were manufactured and characterized. The developed films were evaluated according to their [...] Read more.
Environmental pollution and food safety are both issues of global concern. In this sense, sustainable and antimicrobial nanocomposites based on cellulose/poly (vinyl alcohol) blend incorporated with natamycin and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were manufactured and characterized. The developed films were evaluated according to their mechanical and optical properties, and their barrier to oxygen and water vapor permeation. The antimycotic activity was evaluated in vitro against fungi and yeasts. The film’s potential to act as an active packaging for Minas cheese preservation was also assessed. The incorporation of CNC increased the films’ tensile strength; however, it did not influence the barrier properties to water vapor (4.12 × 10−7 g·cm.m−1·h−1·Pa−1) and oxygen (3.64 × 10−13 g·cm·m−1·h−1·Pa−1). The incorporation of natamycin, on the other hand, resulted in films that were more opaque (around 24%) and of a yellowish color. The active nanocomposites developed showed antimicrobial effects against all analyzed fungi and yeasts (approximately 35 mm of inhibition zone) and were able to control the growth of S. cerevisiae in cheese, reducing a log cycle until the 12th day of storage. Since they performed well in vitro and on food, it was concluded that the films showed potential to be applied in Minas cheese preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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18 pages, 6196 KiB  
Article
Chiral Polymers from Norbornenes Based on Renewable Chemical Feedstocks
by Ivan V. Nazarov, Danil P. Zarezin, Ivan A. Solomatov, Anastasya A. Danshina, Yulia V. Nelyubina, Igor R. Ilyasov and Maxim V. Bermeshev
Polymers 2022, 14(24), 5453; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245453 - 13 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1871
Abstract
Optically active polymers are of great interest as materials for dense enantioselective membranes, as well as chiral stationary phases for gas and liquid chromatography. Combining the versatility of norbornene chemistry and the advantages of chiral natural terpenes in one molecule will open up [...] Read more.
Optically active polymers are of great interest as materials for dense enantioselective membranes, as well as chiral stationary phases for gas and liquid chromatography. Combining the versatility of norbornene chemistry and the advantages of chiral natural terpenes in one molecule will open up a facile route toward the synthesis of diverse optically active polymers. Herein, we prepared a set of new chiral monomers from cis-5-norbornene-2,3-dicarboxylic anhydride and chiral alcohols of various natures. Alcohols based on cyclic terpenes ((-)-menthol, (-)-borneol and pinanol), as well as commercially available alcohols (S-(-)-2-methylbutanol-1, S-(+)-3-octanol), were used. All the synthesized monomers were successfully involved in ring-opening metathesis polymerization, affording polymers in high yields (up to 96%) and with molecular weights in the range of 1.9 × 105–5.8 × 105 (Mw). The properties of the metathesis polymers obtained were studied by TGA and DSC analysis, WAXD, and circular dichroism spectroscopy. The polymers exhibited high thermal stability and good film-forming properties. Glass transition temperatures for the prepared polymers varied from −30 °C to +139 °C and, therefore, the state of the polymers changed from rubbery to glassy. The prepared polymers represent a new attractive platform of chiral polymeric materials for enantioselective membrane separation and chiral stationary phases for chromatography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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12 pages, 2980 KiB  
Article
Reactive Extrusion-Assisted Process to Obtain Starch Hydrogels through Reaction with Organic Acids
by Beatriz Marjorie Marim, Janaina Mantovan, Gina Alejandra Gil-Giraldo, Jéssica Fernanda Pereira, Bruno Matheus Simões, Fabio Yamashita and Suzana Mali
Polysaccharides 2022, 3(4), 792-803; https://doi.org/10.3390/polysaccharides3040046 - 05 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2054
Abstract
A totally green process based on reactive extrusion was used for the production of cassava starch hydrogels through reaction with two organic crosslinking agents, citric (CA) and tartaric (TA) acids. CA and TA were used at different concentrations (0, 2.5, 5.0, 10.0, 15.0, [...] Read more.
A totally green process based on reactive extrusion was used for the production of cassava starch hydrogels through reaction with two organic crosslinking agents, citric (CA) and tartaric (TA) acids. CA and TA were used at different concentrations (0, 2.5, 5.0, 10.0, 15.0, and 20.0%). Degree of substitution (DS) of hydrogels ranged from 0.023 to 0.365. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy results showed a new band appearing at 1730 cm−1 associated with ester carbonyl groups. X-ray diffraction indicated that reactive extrusion resulted in the disappearance of diffraction peaks of native starch and samples with lower crystallinity indices ranging from 37% (native starch) to 8–11% in starch hydrogels. Morphology analysis showed that the original granular structure of starch was lost and replaced by a rougher and irregular structure. Water holding capacity values of starch hydrogels obtained by reactive extrusion were superior to those of native starch and the control sample (extruded without the crosslinking agents). Hydrogels obtained with the highest CA or TA concentration (20.0%) resulted in the higher DS and swelling capacities, resulting in samples with 870 and 810% of water retention, respectively. Reactive extrusion was effective in obtaining starch hydrogels by reaction with organic acids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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15 pages, 2217 KiB  
Article
Improvement of Poly(lactic acid)-Poly(hydroxy butyrate) Blend Properties for Use in Food Packaging: Processing, Structure Relationships
by Mitul Kumar Patel, Marta Zaccone, Laurens De Brauwer, Rakesh Nair, Marco Monti, Vanesa Martinez-Nogues, Alberto Frache and Kristiina Oksman
Polymers 2022, 14(23), 5104; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14235104 - 24 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1809
Abstract
Poly(lactic acid)-poly(hydroxybutyrate) (PLA-PHB)-based nanocomposite films were prepared with bio-based additives (CNCs and ChNCs) and oligomer lactic acid (OLA) compatibilizer using extrusion and then blown to films at pilot scale. The aim was to identify suitable material formulations and nanocomposite production processes for film [...] Read more.
Poly(lactic acid)-poly(hydroxybutyrate) (PLA-PHB)-based nanocomposite films were prepared with bio-based additives (CNCs and ChNCs) and oligomer lactic acid (OLA) compatibilizer using extrusion and then blown to films at pilot scale. The aim was to identify suitable material formulations and nanocomposite production processes for film production at a larger scale targeting food packaging applications. The film-blowing process for both the PLA-PHB blend and CNC-nanocomposite was unstable and led to non-homogeneous films with wrinkles and creases, while the blowing of the ChNC-nanocomposite was stable and resulted in a smooth and homogeneous film. The optical microscopy of the blown nanocomposite films indicated well-dispersed chitin nanocrystals while the cellulose crystals were agglomerated to micrometer-size particles. The addition of the ChNCs also resulted in the improved mechanical performance of the PLA-PHB blend due to well-dispersed crystals in the nanoscale as well as the interaction between biopolymers and the chitin nanocrystals. The strength increased from 27 MPa to 37 MPa compared to the PLA-PHB blend and showed almost 36 times higher elongation at break resulting in 10 times tougher material. Finally, the nanocomposite film with ChNCs showed improved oxygen barrier performance as well as faster degradation, indicating its potential exploitation for packaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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12 pages, 5058 KiB  
Communication
Super-Hydrophobic Magnetic Fly Ash Coated Polydimethylsiloxane (MFA@PDMS) Sponge as an Absorbent for Rapid and Efficient Oil/Water Separation
by Mengqi Zhao, Xiaoqing Ma, Yuxi Chao, Dejun Chen and Yinnian Liao
Polymers 2022, 14(18), 3726; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14183726 - 07 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1743
Abstract
In this study, magnetic fly ash was prepared with fly ash and nano-magnetic Fe3O4, obtained by co-precipitation. Then, a magnetic fly ash/polydimethylsiloxane (MFA@PDMS) sponge was prepared via simple dip-coating PDMS containing ethanol in magnetic fly ash aqueous suspension and [...] Read more.
In this study, magnetic fly ash was prepared with fly ash and nano-magnetic Fe3O4, obtained by co-precipitation. Then, a magnetic fly ash/polydimethylsiloxane (MFA@PDMS) sponge was prepared via simple dip-coating PDMS containing ethanol in magnetic fly ash aqueous suspension and solidifying, whereby Fe3O4 played a vital role in achieving the uniformity of the FA particle coating on the skeletons of the sponge. The presence of the PDMS matrix made the sponge super-hydrophobic with significant lubricating oil absorption capacity; notably, it took only 10 min for the material to adsorb six times its own weight of n-hexane (oil phase). Moreover, the MFA@PDMS sponge demonstrated outstanding recyclability and stability, since no decline in absorption efficiency was observed after more than eight cycles. Furthermore, the stress–strain curves of 20 compression cycles presented good overlap, i.e., the maximum stress was basically unchanged, and the sponge was restored to its original shape, indicating that it had good mechanical properties, elasticity, and fatigue resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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20 pages, 6681 KiB  
Article
Improvement of the Structure and Physicochemical Properties of Polylactic Acid Films by Addition of Glycero-(9,10-trioxolane)-Trialeate
by Olga Alexeeva, Anatoliy Olkhov, Marina Konstantinova, Vyacheslav Podmasterev, Ilya Tretyakov, Tuyara Petrova, Olga Koryagina, Sergey Lomakin, Valentina Siracusa and Alexey L. Iordanskii
Polymers 2022, 14(17), 3478; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14173478 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
Glycero-(9,10-trioxolane)-trioleate (ozonide of oleic acid triglyceride, OTOA) was introduced into polylactic acid (PLA) films in amounts of 5, 10, 30, 50, and 70% w/w. The morphological, mechanical, thermal, and water absorption properties of PLA films after the OTOA addition were [...] Read more.
Glycero-(9,10-trioxolane)-trioleate (ozonide of oleic acid triglyceride, OTOA) was introduced into polylactic acid (PLA) films in amounts of 5, 10, 30, 50, and 70% w/w. The morphological, mechanical, thermal, and water absorption properties of PLA films after the OTOA addition were studied. The morphological analysis of the films showed that the addition of OTOA increased the diameter of PLA spherulites and, as a consequence, increased the proportion of amorphous regions in PLA films. A study of the thermodynamic properties of PLA films by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) demonstrated a decrease in the glass transition temperature of the films with an increase in the OTOA content. According to DSC and XRD data, the degree of crystallinity of the PLA films showed a tendency to decrease with an increase in the OTOA content in the films, which could be accounted for the plasticizing effect of OTOA. The PLA film with 10% OTOA content was characterized by good smoothness, hydrophobicity, and optimal mechanical properties. Thus, while maintaining high tensile strength of 21 MPa, PLA film with 10% OTOA showed increased elasticity with 26% relative elongation at break, as compared to the 2.7% relative elongation for pristine PLA material. In addition, DMA method showed that PLA film with 10% OTOA exhibits increased strength characteristics in the dynamic load mode. The resulting film materials based on optimized PLA/OTOA compositions could be used in various packaging and biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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11 pages, 2751 KiB  
Article
Plastic/Natural Fiber Composite Based on Recycled Expanded Polystyrene Foam Waste
by Wilasinee Sriprom, Adilah Sirivallop, Aree Choodum, Wadcharawadee Limsakul and Worawit Wongniramaikul
Polymers 2022, 14(11), 2241; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14112241 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2815
Abstract
A novel reinforced recycled expanded polystyrene (r-EPS) foam/natural fiber composite was successfully developed. EPS was recycled by means of the dissolution method using an accessible commercial mixed organic solvent, while natural fibers, i.e., coconut husk fiber (coir) and banana stem fiber (BSF) were [...] Read more.
A novel reinforced recycled expanded polystyrene (r-EPS) foam/natural fiber composite was successfully developed. EPS was recycled by means of the dissolution method using an accessible commercial mixed organic solvent, while natural fibers, i.e., coconut husk fiber (coir) and banana stem fiber (BSF) were used as reinforcement materials. The treatment of natural fibers with 5% (w/v) sodium hydroxide solution reduces the number of –OH groups and non-cellulose components in the fibers, more so with longer treatments. The natural fibers treated for 6 h showed rough surfaces that provided good adhesion and interlocking with the polymer matrix for mechanical reinforcement. The tensile strength and impact strength of r-EPS foam composites with treated fibers were higher than for non-filled r-EPS foam, whereas their flexural strengths were lower. Thus, this study has demonstrated an alternative way to produce recycled polymer/natural fiber composites via the dissolution method, with promising enhanced mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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16 pages, 6293 KiB  
Article
Thermal and Sliding Wear Properties of Wood Waste-Filled Poly(Lactic Acid) Biocomposites
by Tej Singh, Amar Patnaik, Lalit Ranakoti, Gábor Dogossy and László Lendvai
Polymers 2022, 14(11), 2230; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14112230 - 30 May 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1702
Abstract
In our study, the effects of wood waste content (0, 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10 wt.%) on thermal and dry sliding wear properties of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) biocomposites were investigated. The wear of developed composites was examined under dry contact conditions at different [...] Read more.
In our study, the effects of wood waste content (0, 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10 wt.%) on thermal and dry sliding wear properties of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) biocomposites were investigated. The wear of developed composites was examined under dry contact conditions at different operating parameters, such as sliding velocity (1 m/s, 2 m/s, and 3 m/s) and normal load (10 N, 20 N, and 30 N) at a fixed sliding distance of 2000 m. Thermogravimetric analysis demonstrated that the inclusion of wood waste decreased the thermal stability of PLA biocomposites. The experimental results indicate that wear of biocomposites increased with a rise in load and sliding velocity. There was a 26–38% reduction in wear compared with pure PLA when 2.5 wt.% wood waste was added to composites. The Taguchi method with L25 orthogonal array was used to analyze the sliding wear behavior of the developed biocomposites. The results indicate that the wood waste content with 46.82% contribution emerged as the most crucial parameter affecting the wear of PLA biocomposites. The worn surfaces of the biocomposites were examined by scanning electron microscopy to study possible wear mechanisms and correlate them with the obtained wear results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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11 pages, 5040 KiB  
Article
Process-Induced Morphology of Poly(Butylene Adipate Terephthalate)/Poly(Lactic Acid) Blown Extrusion Films Modified with Chain-Extending Cross-Linkers
by Juliana V. C. Azevedo, Esther Ramakers-van Dorp, Roman Grimmig, Berenika Hausnerova and Bernhard Möginger
Polymers 2022, 14(10), 1939; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14101939 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2188
Abstract
Process-induced changes in the morphology of biodegradable polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) and polylactic acid (PLA) blends modified with various multifunctional chain-extending cross-linkers (CECLs) are presented. The morphology of unmodified and modified films produced with blown film extrusion is examined in an extrusion direction [...] Read more.
Process-induced changes in the morphology of biodegradable polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) and polylactic acid (PLA) blends modified with various multifunctional chain-extending cross-linkers (CECLs) are presented. The morphology of unmodified and modified films produced with blown film extrusion is examined in an extrusion direction (ED) and a transverse direction (TD). While FTIR analysis showed only small peak shifts indicating that the CECLs modify the molecular weight of the PBAT/PLA blend, SEM investigations of the fracture surfaces of blown extrusion films revealed their significant effect on the morphology formed during the processing. Due to the combined shear and elongation deformation during blown film extrusion, rather spherical PLA islands were partly transformed into long fibrils, which tended to decay to chains of elliptical islands if cooled slowly. The CECL introduction into the blend changed the thickness of the PLA fibrils, modified the interface adhesion, and altered the deformation behavior of the PBAT matrix from brittle to ductile. The results proved that CECLs react selectively with PBAT, PLA, and their interface. Furthermore, the reactions of CECLs with PBAT/PLA induced by the processing depended on the deformation directions (ED and TD), thus resulting in further non-uniformities of blown extrusion films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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14 pages, 22369 KiB  
Article
Influence of Non-Rubber Components on the Properties of Unvulcanized Natural Rubber from Different Clones
by Nussana Lehman, Akarapong Tuljittraporn, Ladawan Songtipya, Nattapon Uthaipan, Karnda Sengloyluan, Jobish Johns, Yeampon Nakaramontri and Ekwipoo Kalkornsurapranee
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091759 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3289
Abstract
Natural rubber from different Hevea braziliensis clones, namely RRIM600, RRIT251, PB235 and BPM24, exhibit unique properties. The influences of the various fresh natural rubber latex and cream concentrated latex on the non-rubber components related properties were studied. It was found that the fresh [...] Read more.
Natural rubber from different Hevea braziliensis clones, namely RRIM600, RRIT251, PB235 and BPM24, exhibit unique properties. The influences of the various fresh natural rubber latex and cream concentrated latex on the non-rubber components related properties were studied. It was found that the fresh natural rubber latex exhibited differences in their particle size, which was attributed to the non-rubber and unique signature of clones which affect various properties. Meanwhile, the cream concentrated latex showed the protein contents, surface tension, and color of creamed latex to be lower than the fresh natural latex. However, TSC, DRC, viscosity, particle size and green strength of concentrated latex were found to be higher than the fresh natural latex. This is attributed to the incorporation of HEC molecules. Also, the rubber particle size distribution in the RRIM600 clone exhibited a large particle size and uniform distribution, showing good mechanical properties when compared to the other clones. Furthermore, the increased green strength in the RRIM600 clone can be attributed to the crystallization of the chain on straining and chain entanglement. These experimental results may provide benefits for manufacturing rubber products, which can be selected from a suitable clone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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13 pages, 2259 KiB  
Article
Self-Healable, Strong, and Tough Polyurethane Elastomer Enabled by Carbamate-Containing Chain Extenders Derived from Ethyl Carbonate
by Pengcheng Yi, Jingrong Chen, Junyao Chang, Junbo Wang, Ying Lei, Ruobing Jing, Xingjiang Liu, Ailing Sun, Liuhe Wei and Yuhan Li
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1673; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091673 - 20 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1985
Abstract
Commercial diol chain extenders generally could only form two urethane bonds, while abundant hydrogen bonds were required to construct self-healing thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU). Herein, two diol chain extenders bis(2-hydroxyethyl) (1,3-pheny-lene-bis-(methylene)) dicarbamate (BDM) and bis(2-hydroxyethyl) (methylenebis(cyclohexane-4,1-diy-l)) dicarbamate (BDH), containing two carbamate groups were [...] Read more.
Commercial diol chain extenders generally could only form two urethane bonds, while abundant hydrogen bonds were required to construct self-healing thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU). Herein, two diol chain extenders bis(2-hydroxyethyl) (1,3-pheny-lene-bis-(methylene)) dicarbamate (BDM) and bis(2-hydroxyethyl) (methylenebis(cyclohexane-4,1-diy-l)) dicarbamate (BDH), containing two carbamate groups were successfully synthesized through the ring-opening reaction of ethylene carbonate (EC) with 1,3-benzenedimetha-namine (MX-DA) and 4, 4′-diaminodicyclohexylmethane (HMDA). The two chain extenders were applied to successfully achieve both high strength and high self-healing ability. The BDM-1.7 and BDH-1.7 elastomers had high comprehensive self-healing efficiency (100%, 95%) after heated treatment at 60 °C, and exhibited exceptional comprehensive mechanical performances in tensile strength (20.6 ± 1.3 MPa, 37.1 ± 1.7 MPa), toughness (83.5 ± 2.0 MJ/m3, 118.8 ± 5.1 MJ/m3), puncture resistance (196.0 mJ, 626.0 mJ), and adhesion (4.6 MPa, 4.8 MPa). The peculiar mechanical and self-healing properties of TPUs originated from the coexisting short and long hard segments, strain-induced crystallization (SIC). The two elastomers with excellent properties could be applied to engineering-grade fields such as commercial sealants, adhesives, and so on. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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15 pages, 1316 KiB  
Article
Amination of Non-Functional Polyvinyl Chloride Polymer Using Polyethyleneimine for Removal of Phosphorus from Aqueous Solution
by Sok Kim, Yun Hwan Park and Yoon-E Choi
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1645; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091645 - 19 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2180
Abstract
The eutrophication of freshwater environments caused by an excess inflow of phosphorus has become a serious environmental issue because it is a crucial factor for the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in essential water resources. The adsorptive removal of phosphorus from discharged [...] Read more.
The eutrophication of freshwater environments caused by an excess inflow of phosphorus has become a serious environmental issue because it is a crucial factor for the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in essential water resources. The adsorptive removal of phosphorus from discharged phosphorus containing effluents has been recognized as one of the most promising solutions in the prevention of eutrophication. In the present study, a polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-polyethyleneimine (PEI) composite fiber (PEI-PVC) was suggested as a stable and recoverable adsorbent for the removal of phosphorus from aqueous phases. The newly introduced amine groups of the PEI-PVC were confirmed by a comparison between the FT-IR and XPS results of the PVC and PEI-PVC. The phosphorus sorption on the PEI-PVC was pH dependent. At the optimum pH for phosphorus adsorption (pH 5), the maximum adsorption capacity of the PEI-PVC fiber was estimated to be 11.2 times higher (19.66 ± 0.82 mg/g) than that of conventional activated carbon (1.75 ± 0.4 mg/g) using the Langmuir isotherm model. The phosphorus adsorption equilibrium of the PEI-PVC was reached within 30 min at pH 5. From the phosphorus-loaded PEI-PVC, 97.4% of the adsorbed amount of phosphorus on the PEI-PVC could be recovered by employing a desorption process using 1M HCl solution without sorbent destruction. The regenerated PEI-PVC through the desorption process maintained a phosphorus sorption capacity almost equal to that of the first use. In addition, consistently with the PVC fiber, the PEI-PVC fiber did not elute any toxic chlorines into the solution during light irradiation. Based on these results, the PEI-PVC fiber can be suggested as a feasible and stable adsorbent for phosphorus removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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44 pages, 8852 KiB  
Review
Tailoring the Barrier Properties of PLA: A State-of-the-Art Review for Food Packaging Applications
by Stefania Marano, Emiliano Laudadio, Cristina Minnelli and Pierluigi Stipa
Polymers 2022, 14(8), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14081626 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 7380
Abstract
It is now well recognized that the production of petroleum-based packaging materials has created serious ecological problems for the environment due to their resistance to biodegradation. In this context, substantial research efforts have been made to promote the use of biodegradable films as [...] Read more.
It is now well recognized that the production of petroleum-based packaging materials has created serious ecological problems for the environment due to their resistance to biodegradation. In this context, substantial research efforts have been made to promote the use of biodegradable films as sustainable alternatives to conventionally used packaging materials. Among several biopolymers, poly(lactide) (PLA) has found early application in the food industry thanks to its promising properties and is currently one of the most industrially produced bioplastics. However, more efforts are needed to enhance its performance and expand its applicability in this field, as packaging materials need to meet precise functional requirements such as suitable thermal, mechanical, and gas barrier properties. In particular, improving the mass transfer properties of materials to water vapor, oxygen, and/or carbon dioxide plays a very important role in maintaining food quality and safety, as the rate of typical food degradation reactions (i.e., oxidation, microbial development, and physical reactions) can be greatly reduced. Since most reviews dealing with the properties of PLA have mainly focused on strategies to improve its thermal and mechanical properties, this work aims to review relevant strategies to tailor the barrier properties of PLA-based materials, with the ultimate goal of providing a general guide for the design of PLA-based packaging materials with the desired mass transfer properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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13 pages, 2316 KiB  
Article
Rheological and Thermal Study about the Gelatinization of Different Starches (Potato, Wheat and Waxy) in Blend with Cellulose Nanocrystals
by Josefina Chipón, Kassandra Ramírez, José Morales and Paulo Díaz-Calderón
Polymers 2022, 14(8), 1560; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14081560 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2076
Abstract
The goal of this work was to analyze the effect of CNCs on the gelatinization of different starches (potato, wheat and waxy maize) through the characterization of the rheological and thermal properties of starch–CNC blends. CNCs were blended with different starches, adding CNCs [...] Read more.
The goal of this work was to analyze the effect of CNCs on the gelatinization of different starches (potato, wheat and waxy maize) through the characterization of the rheological and thermal properties of starch–CNC blends. CNCs were blended with different starches, adding CNCs at concentrations of 0, 2, 6 and 10% w/w. Starch–CNC blends were processed by rapid visco-analysis (RVA) and cooled to 70 °C. Pasting parameters such as pasting temperature, peak, hold and breakdown viscosity were assessed. After RVA testing, starch–CNC blends were immediately analyzed by rotational and dynamic rheology at 70 °C. Gelatinization temperature and enthalpy were assessed by differential scanning calorimetry. Our results suggest that CNCs modify the starch gelatinization but that this behavior depends on the starch origin. In potato starch, CNCs promoted a less organized structure after gelatinization which would allow a higher interaction amylose–CNC. However, this behavior was not observed in wheat and waxy maize starch. Insights focusing on the role of CNC on gelatinization yielded relevant information for better understanding the structural changes that take place on starch during storage, which are closely related with starch retrogradation. This insight can be used as an input for the tailored design of novel materials oriented towards different technological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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21 pages, 3747 KiB  
Article
Biodegradation of PBSA Films by Elite Aspergillus Isolates and Farmland Soil
by Hsiao-Lin Chien, Yi-Ting Tsai, Wei-Sung Tseng, Jin-An Wu, Shin-Liang Kuo, Sheng-Lung Chang, Shu-Jiuan Huang and Chi-Te Liu
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1320; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071320 - 24 Mar 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3798
Abstract
Plastic films are widely used in current agricultural practices; however, most mulch films used are discarded and buried in the land after harvest, having adverse environmental impacts. To solve this environmental problem, the demand for biodegradable mulch has been increasing in recent years. [...] Read more.
Plastic films are widely used in current agricultural practices; however, most mulch films used are discarded and buried in the land after harvest, having adverse environmental impacts. To solve this environmental problem, the demand for biodegradable mulch has been increasing in recent years. Polybutylene succinate-co-adipate (PBSA) is a biodegradable polymer with good ductility and can be used for packaging and mulching. In this study, we isolated two elite fungal strains for PBSA degradation from farmlands, i.e., Aspergillus fumigatus L30 and Aspergillus terreus HC, and the latter showed better degradation ability than the former. It is noteworthy that biodegradation of PBSA by A. terreus is reported for the first time, which revealed unique characteristics. In the soil burial test, even the soil with relatively poor degradation ability could be improved by the addition of elite fungal mycelia. In substrate specificity analyses of soil samples, PBSA could induce the synthesis of lipolytic enzymes of indigenous microbes to degrade substrates with medium and long carbon chains in soil. Furthermore, PBSA residues or fungal mycelia supplementation in soils had no adverse effect on the seed germination rate, seedling growth, or mature plant weight of the test green leafy vegetable. Taken together, the results of this study not only advance our understanding of the biodegradation of PBSA films by filamentous fungi but also provide insight into improving the efficiency of biodegradation in soil environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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13 pages, 4171 KiB  
Article
The Distribution and Polymerization Mechanism of Polyfurfuryl Alcohol (PFA) with Lignin in Furfurylated Wood
by Jindi Xu, Dongying Hu, Qi Zheng, Qiulu Meng and Ning Li
Polymers 2022, 14(6), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14061071 - 08 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2213
Abstract
There is increasing interest in furfurylated wood, but the polymerization mechanism between its internal polyfurfuryl alcohol (PFA) and lignin is still uncertain. This paper investigated the distribution of PFA and the feasibility of the polymerization of PFA with lignin in furfurylated balsa wood. [...] Read more.
There is increasing interest in furfurylated wood, but the polymerization mechanism between its internal polyfurfuryl alcohol (PFA) and lignin is still uncertain. This paper investigated the distribution of PFA and the feasibility of the polymerization of PFA with lignin in furfurylated balsa wood. The wood first immersed in the furfuryl alcohol (FA) solution followed by in situ polymerization and the distribution of PFA was characterized by Raman, fluorescence microscopy, SEM, and CLSM. Then, the mill wood lignin (MWL) of balsa wood and lignin model molecules were catalytically polymerized with PFA, respectively, studying the mechanism of interaction between PFA and lignin. It was concluded that PFA was mainly deposited in cell corner with high lignin concentration, and additionally partly deposited in wood cell cavity due to high concentration of FA and partial delignification. TGA, FTIR, and NMR analysis showed that the cross-linked network structure generated by the substitution of MWL aromatic ring free position by PFA hydroxymethyl enhanced the thermal stability. New chemical shifts were established between PFA and C5/C6 of lignin model A and C2/C6 of model B, respectively. The above results illustrated that lignin-CH2-PFA linkage was created between PFA and lignin in the wood cell wall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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