Advances in Sustainable Polymers: Processing, Modeling, Properties and Applications, 2nd Edition

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Processing and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 4773

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, College of Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain 15551, United Arab Emirates
Interests: materials science and engineering; materials characterization; polymeric and composite materials; biomaterials and tissue engineering; biomechanics; durability and degradation of polymeric and composite materials; welding of metallic and polymeric materials; corrosion; fatigue and fracture mechanics; renewable energy; finite element method
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are living in a world where man-made polymer materials are all around us. These synthetic materials are necessary parts of our current life and the global economy. It is estimated that the annual output of synthetic materials may reach 1.3 billion tons in 2050, with the annual output increasing year by year. However, the question remains how to degrade and reuse these polymer materials, especially plastics, after their usage. This challenge is attracting much more attention from scientists in various fields from all over the world.

Due to the success of " Advances in Sustainable Polymers: Processing, Modeling, Properties and Applications", a Special Issue in Polymers (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/polymers/special_issues/0264U0K965), and to provide continuity in this topic, we are pleased to open a Second Edition of this Special Issue in order to continue to collect research on the recent development in sustainable polymer materials. The topics of particular interest for this Special Issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Sustainable polymers;
  • Renewable polymers;
  • Eco-friendly polymers;
  • Green polymers;
  • Biomass-derived polymers;
  • Biodegradable polymers;
  • Waste-derived polymers;
  • Recovery and recycling of plastics and polymer composites;
  • A circular economy.

Prof. Dr. Abdel-Hamid I. Mourad
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable polymers
  • renewable polymers
  • eco-friendly polymers
  • green polymers
  • biomass-derived polymers
  • biodegradable polymers
  • waste-derived polymers
  • recovery and recycling of plastics and polymer composites
  • circular economy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 2624 KiB  
Article
Advances in the Production of Sustainable Bacterial Nanocellulose from Banana Leaves
by David Dáger-López, Óscar Chenché, Rayner Ricaurte-Párraga, Pablo Núñez-Rodríguez, Joaquin Morán Bajaña and Manuel Fiallos-Cárdenas
Polymers 2024, 16(8), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16081157 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1365
Abstract
Interest in bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) has grown due to its purity, mechanical properties, and biological compatibility. To address the need for alternative carbon sources in the industrial production of BNC, this study focuses on banana leaves, discarded during harvesting, as a valuable source. [...] Read more.
Interest in bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) has grown due to its purity, mechanical properties, and biological compatibility. To address the need for alternative carbon sources in the industrial production of BNC, this study focuses on banana leaves, discarded during harvesting, as a valuable source. Banana midrib juice, rich in nutrients and reducing sugars, is identified as a potential carbon source. An optimal culture medium was designed using a simplex-centroid mixing design and evaluated in a 10 L bioreactor. Techniques such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) were used to characterize the structural, thermal, and morphological properties of BNC. Banana midrib juice exhibited specific properties, such as pH (5.64), reducing sugars (15.97 g/L), Trolox (45.07 µM), °Brix (4.00), and antioxidant activity (71% DPPH). The model achieved a 99.97% R-adjusted yield of 6.82 g BNC/L. Physicochemical analyses revealed distinctive attributes associated with BNC. This approach optimizes BNC production and emphasizes the banana midrib as a circular solution for BNC production, promoting sustainability in banana farming and contributing to the sustainable development goals. Full article
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17 pages, 13972 KiB  
Article
Synthesis, Characterization, and Proton Conductivity of Muconic Acid-Based Polyamides Bearing Sulfonated Moieties
by Carlos Corona-García, Alejandro Onchi, Arlette A. Santiago, Tania E. Soto, Salomón Ramiro Vásquez-García, Daniella Esperanza Pacheco-Catalán and Joel Vargas
Polymers 2023, 15(23), 4499; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15234499 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 833
Abstract
Most commercially available polymers are synthesized from compounds derived from petroleum, a finite resource. Because of this, there is a growing interest in the synthesis of new polymeric materials using renewable monomers. Following this concept, this work reports on the use of muconic [...] Read more.
Most commercially available polymers are synthesized from compounds derived from petroleum, a finite resource. Because of this, there is a growing interest in the synthesis of new polymeric materials using renewable monomers. Following this concept, this work reports on the use of muconic acid as a renewable source for the development of new polyamides that can be used as proton-exchange membranes. Muconic acid was used as a comonomer in polycondensation reactions with 4,4′-(hexafluoroisopropylidene)bis(p-phenyleneoxy)dianiline, 2,5-diaminobencensulfonic acid, and 4,4′-diamino-2,2′-stilbenedisulfonic acid as comonomers in the synthesis of two new series of partially renewable aromatic–aliphatic polyamides, in which the degree of sulfonation was varied. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (1H, 13C, and 19F-NMR) techniques were used to confirm the chemical structures of the new polyamides. It was also observed that the degree of sulfonation was proportional to the molar ratio of the diamines in the feed. Subsequently, membranes were prepared by casting, and a complete characterization was conducted to determine their decomposition temperature (Td), glass transition temperature (Tg), density (ρ), and other physical properties. In addition, water uptake (Wu), ion-exchange capacity (IEC), and proton conductivity (σp) were determined for these membranes. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was used to determine the conductivity of the membranes. MUFASA34 exhibited a σp value equal to 9.89 mS·cm−1, being the highest conductivity of all the membranes synthesized in this study. Full article
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17 pages, 3006 KiB  
Article
Depolymerisation of Kraft Lignin by Tailor-Made Alkaliphilic Fungal Laccases
by David Rodríguez-Escribano, Felipe de Salas, Rocío Pliego, Gisela Marques, Thomas Levée, Anu Suonpää, Ana Gutiérrez, Ángel T. Martínez, Petri Ihalainen, Jorge Rencoret and Susana Camarero
Polymers 2023, 15(22), 4433; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15224433 - 16 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1004
Abstract
Lignins released in the black liquors of kraft pulp mills are an underutilised source of aromatics. Due to their phenol oxidase activity, laccases from ligninolytic fungi are suitable biocatalysts to depolymerise kraft lignins, which are characterised by their elevated phenolic content. However, the [...] Read more.
Lignins released in the black liquors of kraft pulp mills are an underutilised source of aromatics. Due to their phenol oxidase activity, laccases from ligninolytic fungi are suitable biocatalysts to depolymerise kraft lignins, which are characterised by their elevated phenolic content. However, the alkaline conditions necessary to solubilise kraft lignins make it difficult to use fungal laccases whose activity is inherently acidic. We recently developed through enzyme-directed evolution high-redox potential laccases active and stable at pH 10. Here, the ability of these tailor-made alkaliphilic fungal laccases to oxidise, demethylate, and depolymerise eucalyptus kraft lignin at pH 10 is evidenced by the increment in the content of phenolic hydroxyl and carbonyl groups, the methanol released, and the appearance of lower molecular weight moieties after laccase treatment. Nonetheless, in a second assay carried out with higher enzyme and lignin concentrations, these changes were accompanied by a strong increase in the molecular weight and content of β–O–4 and β–5 linkages of the main lignin fraction, indicating that repolymerisation of the oxidised products prevails in one-pot reactions. To prevent it, we finally conducted the enzymatic reaction in a bench-scale reactor coupled to a membrane separation system and were able to prove the depolymerisation of kraft lignin by high-redox alkaliphilic laccase. Full article
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18 pages, 5124 KiB  
Article
Pyrolysis Enzymolysis-Treated Pomelo Peel: Porous Carbon Materials with Fe−Nx Sites for High-Performance Supercapacitor and Efficient Oxygen Reduction Applications
by Xiangyu Chen, Jiahua Ma, Xiaoshuai Sun, Chuanshan Zhao, Jiehua Li and Hui Li
Polymers 2023, 15(19), 3879; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15193879 - 25 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 881
Abstract
This paper proposes a different strategy for deriving carbon materials from biomass, abandoning traditional strong corrosive activators and using a top−down approach with a mild green enzyme targeted to degrade the pectin matrix in the inner layer of pomelo peel cotton wool, inducing [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a different strategy for deriving carbon materials from biomass, abandoning traditional strong corrosive activators and using a top−down approach with a mild green enzyme targeted to degrade the pectin matrix in the inner layer of pomelo peel cotton wool, inducing a large number of nanopores on its surface. Meanwhile, the additional hydrophilic groups produced via an enzymatic treatment can be used to effectively anchor the metallic iron atoms and prepare porous carbon with uniformly dispersed Fe−Nx structures, in this case optimizing sample PPE−FeNPC−900’s specific surface area by up to 1435 m2 g−1. PPE−FeNPC−900 is used as the electrode material in a 6 M KOH electrolyte; it manifests a decent specific capacitance of 400 F g−1. The assembled symmetrical supercapacitor exhibits a high energy density of 12.8 Wh kg−1 at a 300 W kg−1 power density and excellent cycle stability. As a catalyst, it also exhibits a half−wave potential of 0.850 V (vs. RHE) and a diffusion-limited current of 5.79 mA cm−2 at 0.3 V (vs. RHE). It has a higher electron transfer number and a lower hydrogen peroxide yield compared to commercial Pt/C catalysts. The green, simple, and efficient strategy designed in this study converts abundant, low−cost waste biomass into high-value multifunctional carbon materials, which are critical for achieving multifunctional applications. Full article
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