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Open AccessArticle

Degradability of Polyurethanes and Their Blends with Polylactide, Chitosan and Starch

Department of Industrial Product Quality and Chemistry, Gdynia Maritime University, 83 Morska Street, 81-225 Gdynia, Poland
Group ‘Materials+Technologies’ (GMT), Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Plaza Europa 1, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, 34 M. Curie-Sklodowska Street, 41-819 Zabrze, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Shinichi Sakurai
Polymers 2021, 13(8), 1202;
Received: 16 March 2021 / Revised: 5 April 2021 / Accepted: 7 April 2021 / Published: 8 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Biodegradable and Biobased Polymers)
One of the methods of making traditional polymers more environmentally friendly is to modify them with natural materials or their biodegradable, synthetic equivalents. It was assumed that blends with polylactide (PLA), polysaccharides: chitosan (Ch) and starch (St) of branched polyurethane (PUR) based on synthetic poly([R,S]-3-hydroxybutyrate) (R,S-PHB) would degrade faster in the processes of hydrolysis and oxidation than pure PUR. For the sake of simplicity in the publication, all three modifiers: commercial PLA, Ch created by chemical modification of chitin and St are called bioadditives. The samples were incubated in a hydrolytic and oxidizing environment for 36 weeks and 11 weeks, respectively. The degradation process was assessed by observation of the chemical structure as well as the change in the mass of the samples, their molecular weight, surface morphology and thermal properties. It was found that the PUR samples with the highest amount of R,S-PHB and the lowest amount of polycaprolactone triol (PCLtriol) were degraded the most. Moreover, blending with St had the greatest impact on the susceptibility to degradation of PUR. However, the rate of weight loss of the samples was low, and after 36 weeks of incubation in the hydrolytic solution, it did not exceed 7% by weight. The weight loss of Ch and PLA blends was even smaller. However, a significant reduction in molecular weight, changes in morphology and changes in thermal properties indicated that the degradation of the samples should occur quickly after this time. Therefore, when using these polyurethanes and their blends, it should be taken into account that they should decompose slowly in their initial life. In summary, this process can be modified by changing the amount of R,S-PHB, the degree of cross-linking, and the type and amount of second blend component added (bioadditives). View Full-Text
Keywords: branched polyurethanes; polyhydroxybutyrate; polylactide; chitosan; starch; degradability branched polyurethanes; polyhydroxybutyrate; polylactide; chitosan; starch; degradability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Brzeska, J.; Tercjak, A.; Sikorska, W.; Mendrek, B.; Kowalczuk, M.; Rutkowska, M. Degradability of Polyurethanes and Their Blends with Polylactide, Chitosan and Starch. Polymers 2021, 13, 1202.

AMA Style

Brzeska J, Tercjak A, Sikorska W, Mendrek B, Kowalczuk M, Rutkowska M. Degradability of Polyurethanes and Their Blends with Polylactide, Chitosan and Starch. Polymers. 2021; 13(8):1202.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Brzeska, Joanna; Tercjak, Agnieszka; Sikorska, Wanda; Mendrek, Barbara; Kowalczuk, Marek; Rutkowska, Maria. 2021. "Degradability of Polyurethanes and Their Blends with Polylactide, Chitosan and Starch" Polymers 13, no. 8: 1202.

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