Abstract: Feather keratin (FK) extracted from feathers represents a valuable source of biodegradable and biocompatible polymer. The aim of this study was the development and characterization of blended films based on FK and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) cross-linked by dialdehyde starch (DAS) for a potential drug release application. The compatibility of FK/PVA was improved when cross-linked by DAS: the relative crystallinity of the PVA/FK film slightly decreased, and the enthalpy value for the melting peak decreased by about 50% for the cross-linked films. The total soluble mass of all blend films in water was below 35% at 37 °C, indicating a good stability of the films in water. The results of the Rhodamine B dye (as a model drug) release tests showed that the release rates decreased with increasing DAS content. DAS-induced cross-linking improves several important properties of the FK/PVA films, such as the compactness, the compatibility, and the stability in water. These improvements offer the potential to expand the application of FK films in the biomaterial field.
Abstract: Chitosan is a unique biopolymer in the respect that it is abundant, cationic, low-toxic, non-immunogenic and biodegradable. The relative occurrence of the two monomeric building units (N-acetyl-glucosamine and d-glucosamine) is crucial to whether chitosan is predominantly an ampholyte or predominantly a polyelectrolyte at acidic pH-values. The chemical composition is not only crucial to its surface activity properties, but also to whether and why chitosan can undergo a sol–gel transition. This review gives an overview of chitosan hydrogels and their biomedical applications, e.g., in tissue engineering and drug delivery, as well as the chitosan’s surface activity and its role in emulsion formation, stabilization and destabilization. Previously unpublished original data where chitosan acts as an emulsifier and flocculant are presented and discussed, showing that highly-acetylated chitosans can act both as an emulsifier and as a flocculant.
Abstract: In the present study, silane-functionalized graphene (f-graphene)-reinforced chitosan nanocomposite films exhibiting enhanced mechanical properties have been prepared by the solution casting method. These nanocomposite films were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. In order to investigate the effect of silane functionalization, tensile tests were performed on original, oxidized and silane-functionalized graphene-reinforced chitosan nanocomposite films. Tensile results show that silane functionalization groups offer a substantial increase in the interfacial adhesion between filler and host matrix. This result is also confirmed by the surface morphology of the fracture surface in scanning electron microscope analysis. Qualitative analysis using Raman and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed the existence of Si–O–Si and Si–O–C bonds in the silanized composite. Thermal analysis of the samples shows that the material is stable up till 250 °C and maintains its thermal stability all throughout the process until it starts degrading after 510 °C. Atomic force microscopy reveals that the material is well exfoliated after the oxidation of graphene and also displays the existence of 3–6 layers of exfoliated graphene sheets. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies also reveal the existence of silicon in the single state and quantify the sample to be approximately around 4% (±0.5%) of the total atomic weight.
Abstract: The latest techniques used to prove, describe and analyze the gas phase activity of a fire retardant used in polymeric materials are briefly reviewed. Classical techniques, such as thermogravimetric analysis or microscale combustion calorimetry, as well as complex and advanced analytical techniques, such as modified microscale combustion calorimeter (MCC), molecular beam mass spectroscopy and vacuum ultra violet (VUV) photoionization spectroscopy coupled with time of flight MS (TOF-MS), are described in this review. The recent advances in analytical techniques help not only in determining the gas phase activity of the flame-retardants but also identify possible reactive species responsible for gas phase flame inhibition. The complete understanding of the decomposition pathways and the flame retardant activity of a flame retardant system is essential for the development of new eco-friendly-tailored flame retardant molecules with high flame retardant efficiency.
Abstract: Two types of reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer molecularly imprinted polymers (RAFT-MIPs) were synthesized using different monomers, which were methacrylic acid functionalized β-cyclodextrin (MAA-β-CD) and 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate functionalized β-cyclodextrin (HEMA-β-CD), via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization, and were represented as RAFT-MIP(MAA-β-CD) and RAFT-MIP(HEMA-β-CD), respectively. Both RAFT-MIPs were systematically characterized using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET), and rebinding experimental study. The results were compared with MIPs synthesized via the traditional radical polymerization (TRP) process, and were represented as MIP(MAA-β-CD) and MIP(HEMA-β-CD). Morphology results show that RAFT-MIP(MAA-β-CD) has a slightly spherical feature with a sponge-like form, while RAFT-MIP(HEMA-β-CD) has a compact surface. BET results show that the surface area of RAFT-MIP(MAA-β-CD) is higher than MIP(MAA-β-CD), while the RAFT-MIP(HEMA-β-CD) surface area is lower than that of MIP(HEMA-β-CD). Rebinding experiments indicate that the RAFT agent increased the binding capacity of RAFT-MIP(MAA-β-CD), but not of RAFT-MIP(HEMA-β-CD), which proves that a RAFT agent does not always improve the recognition affinity and selective adsorption of MIPs. The usability of a RAFT agent depends on the monomer used to generate potential MIPs.
Abstract: Novel bio-based aliphatic copolyesters, poly(lactic acid-co-10-hydroxy decanoate) (P(LA-co-HDA), PLH), were successfully synthesized from lactic acid (LA) and 10-hydroxycapric acid (HDA) by a thermal polycondensation process, in the presence of p-toluenesulfonic acid (p-TSA)and SnCl2·2H2O as co-catalyst. The copolymer structure was characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR). The weight average molecular weights (Mw) of PLH, from gel permeation chromatography (GPC) measurements, were controlled from 18,500 to 37,900 by changing the molar ratios of LA and HDA. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) results showed that PLH had excellent thermal stability, and the decomposition temperature at the maximum rate was above 280 °C. The glass transition temperature (Tg) and melting temperature (Tm) of PLH decreased continuously with increasing the HDA composition by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) measurements. PLH showed high ductility, and the breaking elongation increased significantly by the increment of the HDA composition. Moreover, the PLH copolymer could degrade in buffer solution. The cell adhesion results showed that PLH had good biocompatibility with NIH/3T3 cells. The bio-based PLH copolymers have potential applications as thermoplastics, elastomers or impact modifiers in the biomedical, industrial and agricultural fields.