Special Issue "Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Advanced Composites".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Krzysztof Moraczewski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: polylactide; antioxidants; surface modification; electroless metallization; thermal analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymeric products made from petrochemical polymers are extremely stable in environmental conditions. Following their use, this feature becomes serious problem for the environment. Most of the products made of plastic are stockpiled in landfills, and the decomposition time of such products is often several hundred years. The solution to this problem may be the use of biodegradable polymers derived from renewable materials and which undergo biodegradation.

Biodegradable polymers are distinctly from regular polymers in their material characteristics. Biodegradable polymers, like any other polymer, can be processed using conventional techniques such as injection molding, extrusion, and compression molding. Furthermore, the use of appropriate methods of modification can result in new or improved properties being obtained for the resulting materials. However, the distinct narrow modification and processing window makes them challenging to modify or process.

Continuing technological progress in the modification and processing of biodegradable polymers leads not only to the enhancement of the product quality but also to the reduction of their prices. As a result, biodegradable polymers may be used to produce both common-use articles or packaging materials, as well as for more complex engineering applications.

In this Special Issue, we aim to publish original research and review articles detailing the current trends and technologies for the modification and processing of biodegradable polymers and their composites that are aimed at improving their properties and expanding the possibilities for application.

Prof. Krzysztof Moraczewski
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • biodegradable polymers and composites
  • physical and chemical modification of biodegradable polymers
  • physical and chemical processing of biodegradable polymers
  • recycling of biodegradable polymers
  • characteristics of biodegradable polymers and composites

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Antibacterial Films Based on Polylactide with the Addition of Quercetin and Poly(Ethylene Glycol)
Materials 2021, 14(7), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14071643 - 27 Mar 2021
Viewed by 292
Abstract
A series of new films with antibacterial properties has been obtained by means of solvent casting method. Biodegradable materials including polylactide (PLA), quercetin (Q) acting as an antibacterial compound and polyethylene glycol (PEG) acting as a plasticizer have been used in the process. [...] Read more.
A series of new films with antibacterial properties has been obtained by means of solvent casting method. Biodegradable materials including polylactide (PLA), quercetin (Q) acting as an antibacterial compound and polyethylene glycol (PEG) acting as a plasticizer have been used in the process. The effect of quercetin as well as the amount of PEG on the structural, thermal, mechanical and antibacterial properties of the obtained materials has been determined. It was found that an addition of quercetin significantly influences thermal stability. It should be stressed that samples containing the studied flavonoid are characterized by a higher Young modulus and elongation at break than materials consisting only of PLA and PEG. Moreover, the introduction of 1% of quercetin grants antibacterial properties to the new materials. Recorded results showed that the amount of plasticizer did not influence the antibacterial properties; it does, however, cause changes in physicochemical properties of the obtained materials. These results prove that quercetin could be used as an antibacterial compound and simultaneously improve mechanical and thermal properties of polylactide-based films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of a Sandwich PLGA-Gallic Acid-PLGA Coating on Mg Alloy ZK60 for Bioresorbable Coronary Artery Stents
Materials 2020, 13(23), 5538; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13235538 - 04 Dec 2020
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Absorbable magnesium stents have become alternatives for treating restenosis owing to their better mechanical properties than those of bioabsorbable polymer stents. However, without modification, magnesium alloys cannot provide the proper degradation rate required to match the vascular reform speed. Gallic acid is a [...] Read more.
Absorbable magnesium stents have become alternatives for treating restenosis owing to their better mechanical properties than those of bioabsorbable polymer stents. However, without modification, magnesium alloys cannot provide the proper degradation rate required to match the vascular reform speed. Gallic acid is a phenolic acid with attractive biological functions, including anti-inflammation, promotion of endothelial cell proliferation, and inhibition of smooth muscle cell growth. Thus, in the present work, a small-molecule eluting coating is designed using a sandwich-like configuration with a gallic acid layer enclosed between poly (d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) layers. This coating was deposited on ZK60 substrate, a magnesium alloy that is used to fabricate bioresorbable coronary artery stents. Electrochemical analysis showed that the corrosion rate of the specimen was ~2000 times lower than that of the bare counterpart. The released gallic acid molecules from sandwich coating inhibit oxidation by capturing free radicals, selectively promote the proliferation of endothelial cells, and inhibit smooth muscle cell growth. In a cell migration assay, sandwich coating delayed wound closure in smooth muscle cells. The sandwich coating not only improved the corrosion resistance but also promoted endothelialization, and it thus has great potential for the development of functional vascular stents that prevent late-stent restenosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Eco-Sustainable PBAT-Based Blown Films and Performance Analysis for Food Packaging Applications
Materials 2020, 13(23), 5395; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13235395 - 27 Nov 2020
Viewed by 443
Abstract
In this work, eco-sustainable blown films with improved performance, suitable for flexible packaging applications requiring high ductility, were developed and characterized. Films were made by blending two bioplastics with complementary properties—the ductile and flexible poly(butylene-adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) and the rigid and brittle [...] Read more.
In this work, eco-sustainable blown films with improved performance, suitable for flexible packaging applications requiring high ductility, were developed and characterized. Films were made by blending two bioplastics with complementary properties—the ductile and flexible poly(butylene-adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) and the rigid and brittle poly(lactic acid) (PLA)—at a 60/40 mass ratio. With the aim of improving the blends’ performance, the effects of two types of PLA, differing for viscosity and stereoregularity, and the addition of a commercial polymer chain extender (Joncryl®), were analyzed. The use of the PLA with a viscosity ratio closer to PBAT and lower stereoregularity led to a finer morphology and better interfacial adhesion between the phases, and the addition of the chain extender further reduced the size of the dispersed phase domains, with beneficial effects on the mechanical response of the produced films. The best system composition, made by the blend of PBAT, amorphous PLA, and the compatibilizer, proved to have improved mechanical properties, with a good balance between stiffness and ductility and also good transparency and sealability, which are desirable features for flexible packaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Influence of Tea Tree Essential Oil and Poly(ethylene glycol) on Antibacterial and Physicochemical Properties of Polylactide-Based Films
Materials 2020, 13(21), 4953; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13214953 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 558
Abstract
The aim of the study was to establish the influence of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) on the properties of potential biodegradable packaging materials with antibacterial properties, based on polylactide (PLA) and tea tree essential oil (TTO). The obtained polymeric films consisted of PLA, a [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to establish the influence of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) on the properties of potential biodegradable packaging materials with antibacterial properties, based on polylactide (PLA) and tea tree essential oil (TTO). The obtained polymeric films consisted of PLA, a natural biocide, and tea tree essential oil (5–20 wt. %) was prepared with or without an addition of 5 wt. % PEG. The PLA-based materials have been tested, taking into account their morphology, and their thermal, mechanical and antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. It was established that the introduction of a plasticizer into the PLA–TTO systems leads to an increase in tensile strength, resistance to deformation, as well an increased thermal stability, in comparison to films modified using only TTO. The incorporation of 5 wt. % PEG in the PLA solution containing 5 wt. % TTO allowed us to obtain a material exhibiting a satisfactory antibacterial effect on both groups of representative bacteria. The presented results indicated a beneficial effect of PEG on the antibacterial and functional properties of materials with the addition of TTO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Whey Protein Concentrate/Isolate Biofunctional Films Modified with Melanin from Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) Seeds
Materials 2020, 13(17), 3876; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13173876 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 814
Abstract
Valorization of food industry waste and plant residues represents an attractive path towards obtaining biodegradable materials and achieving “zero waste” goals. Here, melanin was isolated from watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) seeds and used as a modifier for whey protein concentrate and isolate [...] Read more.
Valorization of food industry waste and plant residues represents an attractive path towards obtaining biodegradable materials and achieving “zero waste” goals. Here, melanin was isolated from watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) seeds and used as a modifier for whey protein concentrate and isolate films (WPC and WPI) at two concentrations (0.1% and 0.5%). The modification with melanin enhanced the ultraviolet (UV) blocking, water vapor barrier, swelling, and mechanical properties of the WPC/WPI films, in addition to affecting the apparent color. The modified WPC/WPI films also exhibited high antioxidant activity, but no cytotoxicity. Overall, the effects were melanin concentration-dependent. Thus, melanin from watermelon seeds can be used as a functional modifier to develop bioactive biopolymer films with good potential to be exploited in food packaging and biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Laser Texturing as a Way of Influencing the Micromechanical and Biological Properties of the Poly(L-Lactide) Surface
Materials 2020, 13(17), 3786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13173786 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 560
Abstract
Laser-based technologies are extensively used for polymer surface patterning and/or texturing. Different micro- and nanostructures can be obtained thanks to a wide range of laser types and beam parameters. Cell behavior on various types of materials is an extensively investigated phenomenon in biomedical [...] Read more.
Laser-based technologies are extensively used for polymer surface patterning and/or texturing. Different micro- and nanostructures can be obtained thanks to a wide range of laser types and beam parameters. Cell behavior on various types of materials is an extensively investigated phenomenon in biomedical applications. Polymer topography such as height, diameter, and spacing of the patterning will cause different cell responses, which can also vary depending on the utilized cell types. Structurization can highly improve the biological performance of the material without any need for chemical modification. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of CO2 laser irradiation of poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) thin films on the surface microhardness, roughness, wettability, and cytocompatibility. The conducted testing showed that CO2 laser texturing of PLLA provides the ability to adjust the structural and physical properties of the PLLA surface to the requirements of the cells despite significant changes in the mechanical properties of the laser-treated surface polymer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Studies on the Uncrosslinked Fraction of PLA/PBAT Blends Modified by Electron Radiation
Materials 2020, 13(5), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13051068 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
The results of studies on the uncrosslinked fraction of blends of polylactide and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PLA/PBAT) are presented. The blends were crosslinked by using the electron radiation and triallyl isocyanurate (TAIC) at a concentration of 3 wt %. Two kinds of [...] Read more.
The results of studies on the uncrosslinked fraction of blends of polylactide and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PLA/PBAT) are presented. The blends were crosslinked by using the electron radiation and triallyl isocyanurate (TAIC) at a concentration of 3 wt %. Two kinds of samples to be investigated were prepared: one contained 80 wt % PLA and the other contained 80 wt % PBAT. Both blends were irradiated with the doses of 10, 40, or 90 kGy. The uncrosslinked fraction was separated from the crosslinked one. When dried, they were subjected to quantitative analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) measurements, an analysis of variations in the average molecular weight, and the determination of thermal properties. It was found that the electron radiation caused various effects in the studied samples, which depended on the magnitude of the radiation dose and the weight fractions of the components of the particular blends. This was evidenced by the occurrence of the uncrosslinked fractions of different amounts, a different molecular weight distribution, and the different thermal properties of the samples. It was also concluded that the observed effects were caused by the fact that the processes of crosslinking and degradation took place mostly in PLA, while PBAT appeared to be less susceptible to the influence of the electron radiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modification and Processing of Biodegradable Polymers)
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