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Polymers 2018, 10(5), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10050471

Solid-State Polymerization of Poly(Ethylene Furanoate) Biobased Polyester, II: An Efficient and Facile Method to Synthesize High Molecular Weight Polyester Appropriate for Food Packaging Applications

1
Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Technology, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR-541 24 Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece
2
Chemistry Department, University of Ioannina, P.O. Box 1186, 45110 Ioannina, Greece
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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Abstract

The goal of this study was to synthesize, through a facile strategy, high molecular weight poly(ethylene furanoate) (PEF), which could be applicable in food packaging applications. The efficient method to generate PEF with high molecular weight consists of carrying out a first solid-state polycondensation under vacuum for 6 h reaction time at 205 °C for the resulting polymer from two-step melt polycondensation process, which is catalyzed by tetrabutyl titanate (TBT). A remelting step was thereafter applied for 15 min at 250 °C for the obtained polyester. Thus, the PEF sample was ground into powder, and was then crystallized for 6 h at 170 °C. This polyester is then submitted to a second solid-state polycondensation (SSP) carried out at different reaction times (1, 2, 3.5, and 5 h) and temperatures 190, 200, and 205 °C, under vacuum. Ultimately, a significant increase in intrinsic viscosity is observed with only 5 h reaction time at 205 °C during the second SSP being needed to obtain very high molecular weight PEF polymer greater than 1 dL/g, which sufficient for manufacturing purposes. Intrinsic viscosity (IV), carboxyl end-group content (–COOH), and thermal properties, via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), were measured for all resultant polyesters. Thanks to the post-polymerization process, DSC results showed that the melting temperatures of the prepared PEF samples were steadily enhanced in an obvious way as a function of reaction time and temperature increase. It was revealed, as was expected for all SSP samples, that the intrinsic viscosity and the average molecular weight of PEF polyester increased with increasing SSP time and temperature, whereas the number of carboxyl end-group concentration was decreased. A simple kinetic model was also developed and used to predict the time evolution of polyesters IV, as well as the carboxyl and hydroxyl end-groups of PEF during the SSP. View Full-Text
Keywords: poly(ethylene furanoate); solid-state polymerization; high molecular weight; thermal properties; polyester; remelting process poly(ethylene furanoate); solid-state polymerization; high molecular weight; thermal properties; polyester; remelting process
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kasmi, N.; Papageorgiou, G.Z.; Achilias, D.S.; Bikiaris, D.N. Solid-State Polymerization of Poly(Ethylene Furanoate) Biobased Polyester, II: An Efficient and Facile Method to Synthesize High Molecular Weight Polyester Appropriate for Food Packaging Applications. Polymers 2018, 10, 471.

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