Special Issue "Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biopolymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Valentina Siracusa
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known both in the academic as well as the industrial field that polymers, widely known as plastics, are essential to ensure the safety and quality of goods. Polymers are the most important class of materials extensively studied and used for several applications due to their unique properties, such as their light weight, malleability, mechanical strength, gas barrier behavior, ease of process, versatility, and so on. However, producers and consumers are demanding more and more that polymer materials be formulated with eco-friendly and sustainable attributes to reduce the use of petroleum resources and/or minimize environmental concerns related to both recycling and wastes treatment. Consequently, the field of sustainable polymers is growing and evolving at unprecedented rates. The requirement of new technologies integrated with environmental sustainability has become even more pressing and, between different possibilities, the development of bio-based polymers is one of the fields receiving the most attention. The use of sustainable resources instead of fossil-based resources is seen as one interesting possibility. Biomass feedstocks, used for the production of, for example, bio-ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-olefins and, in general, bio-chemicals, are considered sustainable resources that could be converted into raw materials for producing the so-called “bio-based polymers”.

The aim of this Special Issue is to give an overview of ongoing scientific and industrial research of recent technological breakthroughs in the field of synthesis, characterization, and application of bio-based polymers.

Research as well as review articles are welcome.

Prof. Valentina Siracusa
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 papers will be 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 monthly 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 1800 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

  • Bio-based polymers
  • Bio-based polyesters
  • Random bio-based polymers
  • Block bio-based polymers
  • Structure-properties polymer relationship
  • Sustainable polymers
  • Green polymers
  • Eco-friendly plastics
  • Food waste polymers
  • Biomass feedstoks
  • Furanoate-based bio-polymers
  • Bio-olefins
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Compostability

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Modification of Poly(Ethylene 2,5-Furandicarboxylate) with Poly(Ethylene glycol) for Biodegradable Copolyesters with Good Mechanical Properties and Spinnability
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 2105; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11122105 - 14 Dec 2019
Abstract
Using 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, ethylene glycol, and poly(ethylene glycol) as raw materials and ethylene glycol antimony as a catalyst, poly(ethylene furandicarboxylate) (PEF) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) copolymers (PEGFs) were synthesized by transesterification by changing the molecular weight of PEG (from 600 to 10,000 g/mol) [...] Read more.
Using 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, ethylene glycol, and poly(ethylene glycol) as raw materials and ethylene glycol antimony as a catalyst, poly(ethylene furandicarboxylate) (PEF) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) copolymers (PEGFs) were synthesized by transesterification by changing the molecular weight of PEG (from 600 to 10,000 g/mol) and the PEG content (from 10 to 60 wt %). The thermal, hydrophilic, degradation, and spinnility characteristics of these copolymers were then investigated. Thermogravimetric analysis shows that PEGF is thermally stable at 62 °C, much lower than the temperature for PEF. The intrinsic viscosity of the obtained copolyester was between 0.67 and 0.99 dL/g, which is higher than the viscosity value of PEF. The contact angle experiment shows that the hydrophilicity of PEGFs is improved (the surface contact angle is reduced from 91.9 to 63.3°), which gives PEGFs a certain degradability, and the maximum mass loss can reach approximately 15%. Melt spinning experiments show that the PEGF polymer has poor spinnability, but the mechanical properties of the polymer monofilament are better. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Starches Isolated from Colombian Native Potatoes and Their Application as Novel Edible Coatings for Wild Andean Blueberries (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz)
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 1937; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11121937 - 25 Nov 2019
Abstract
Andean blueberry is a promissory fruit native to South America. The current work aimed to characterize starches isolated from Colombian native potatoes and to evaluate the effect of the application of starch edible coatings on the changes in the physicochemical quality parameters of [...] Read more.
Andean blueberry is a promissory fruit native to South America. The current work aimed to characterize starches isolated from Colombian native potatoes and to evaluate the effect of the application of starch edible coatings on the changes in the physicochemical quality parameters of the Andean blueberry during storage. Starches were isolated from three different potatoes varieties (pacha negra, mora, and alcarrosa) and characterized. Then, starch-based coatings were applied to Andean blueberries, and the changes in their quality parameters were monitored during 12 days of storage. Despite the phenotypical differences in the starch sources used, starches were similar in terms of their granule morphology, amylose content (~19%), crystallinity degree (~46%), and thermal properties. Coatings were able to reduce the gaseous exchange of the fruit, and, thus, the respiration rate of all coated blueberries was ~27% lower compared to the uncoated fruits (p < 0.05) at the end of the storage. While the application of starch coatings did not prevent water loss, all samples reached water loss of up 20%. Besides, the coated fruits showed soluble solids contents ~14% higher compared to the control one, as well as better bright and firmness. The new edible coatings can help add value to the Andean blueberry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Different Denaturants on Properties and Performance of Soy Protein-Based Adhesive
Polymers 2019, 11(8), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11081262 - 30 Jul 2019
Abstract
Chemical modification of soy protein, via crosslinking, is the preferred method for creating non-toxic, renewable, environmentally friendly wood adhesives. The denaturing process of protein is important for the adhesive performance improvement. In order to investigate the effect of different denaturing agents on the [...] Read more.
Chemical modification of soy protein, via crosslinking, is the preferred method for creating non-toxic, renewable, environmentally friendly wood adhesives. The denaturing process of protein is important for the adhesive performance improvement. In order to investigate the effect of different denaturing agents on the performance of soy protein-based adhesives before and after crosslinking modification. In this study, three different denaturing agents—urea (U), sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and sodium hydrogen sulfite (SHS) and an epoxide crosslinking agent—Triglycidylamine (CA) were used to prepare soy protein-based adhesives. The results showed: (1) The denaturing agent unfolded protein molecules and exposed more hydrophobic groups to prevent water intrusion, which was mainly a contribution for the water resistance and performance improvement of soy protein-based adhesives. The wet shear strength was improved up to 91.3% (denaturing by urea). (2) After modifying by the crosslinking agent, the properties and performance improvement was due to the fact that the active groups on soybean protein molecules reacted with the crosslinking agent to form a crosslinking structure, and there is no obvious correlation with the hydrophobic groups of the protein. (3) The unfolded soybean protein molecules also expose hydrophilic groups, which facilitates the reaction between the crosslinking agent and protein to form a denser crosslinking structure to improve the performance of the adhesive. Particularly, after denaturing with SHS, the wet shear strength of the plywood bonded by the SPI-SHS-CA adhesive increased by 217.24%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Opuntia Ficus-Indica L. Miller (Palma Forrageira) as an Alternative Source of Cellulose for Production of Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Biomaterials: Extraction and Characterization
Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1124; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071124 - 02 Jul 2019
Abstract
Cellulose is among the top 5 excipients used in the pharmaceutical industry. It has been considered one of the main diluents used in conventional and modern dosage forms. Therefore, different raw materials of plant origin have been evaluated as potential alternative sources of [...] Read more.
Cellulose is among the top 5 excipients used in the pharmaceutical industry. It has been considered one of the main diluents used in conventional and modern dosage forms. Therefore, different raw materials of plant origin have been evaluated as potential alternative sources of cellulose. In this context, Opuntia ficus-indica L. Miller (palma forrageira), a plant of the cactus family that has physiological mechanisms that provide greater productivity with reduced water requirements, is an interesting and unexplored alternative for extracting cellulose. By using this source, we aim to decrease the extraction stages and increase the yields, which might result in a decreased cost for the industry and consequently for the consumer. The aim of this work was to investigate the use of Opuntia ficus-indica L. Miller as a new source for cellulose extraction, therefore providing an efficient, straight forward and low-cost method of cellulose II production. The extraction method is based on the oxidation of the lignins. The obtained cellulose was identified and characterized by spectroscopic methods (FTIR and NMR), X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis (TGA-DTG and DSC) and scanning electron microscopy. The results confirmed the identity of cellulose and its fibrous nature, which are promising characteristics for its use in the industry and a reasonable substrate for chemical modifications for the synthesis of cellulose II derivatives with different physicochemical properties that might be used in the production of drug delivery systems and biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Starch Composition and Molecular Weight on Physicochemical Properties of Biodegradable Films
Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071084 - 26 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Thermoplastic starch (TPS) films are considered one of the most promising alternatives for replacing synthetic polymers in the packaging field due to the starch biodegradability, low cost, and abundant availability. However, starch granule composition, expressed in terms of amylose content and phosphate monoesters, [...] Read more.
Thermoplastic starch (TPS) films are considered one of the most promising alternatives for replacing synthetic polymers in the packaging field due to the starch biodegradability, low cost, and abundant availability. However, starch granule composition, expressed in terms of amylose content and phosphate monoesters, and molecular weight of starch clearly affects some film properties. In this contribution, biodegradable TPS films made from potato, corn, wheat, and rice starch were prepared using the casting technique. The effect of the grain structure of each starch on microstructure, transparency, hydration properties, crystallinity, and mechanical properties of the films, was evaluated. Potato starch films were the most transparent and corn starch films the most opaque. All the films had homogeneous internal structures—highly amorphous and with no pores, both of which point to a good starch gelatinization process. The maximum tensile strength (4.48–8.14 MPa), elongation at break (35.41–100.34%), and Young’s modulus (116.42–294.98 MPa) of the TPS films were clearly influenced by the amylose content, molecular weight, and crystallinity of the film. In this respect, wheat and corn starch films, are the most resistant and least stretchable, while rice starch films are the most extensible but least resistant. These findings show that all the studied starches can be considered suitable for manufacturing resistant and flexible films with similar properties to those of synthetic low-density polyethylene (LDPE), by a simple and environmentally-friendly process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a High-Performance Adhesive with a Microphase, Separation Crosslinking Structure Using Wheat Flour and a Hydroxymethyl Melamine Prepolymer
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11050893 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of this study is to use wheat flour (WF) and hydroxymethyl melamine prepolymer (HMP) to develop a low cost, highly water-resistant, starch-based bio-adhesive for plywood fabrication. Three-layer plywood was fabricated using the resultant adhesive, and the wet shear strength of the [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to use wheat flour (WF) and hydroxymethyl melamine prepolymer (HMP) to develop a low cost, highly water-resistant, starch-based bio-adhesive for plywood fabrication. Three-layer plywood was fabricated using the resultant adhesive, and the wet shear strength of the plywood samples was measured under various conditions. After determining that water resistance was significantly improved with the addition of HMP, we evaluated the physical characteristics of the starch-based adhesive and functional groups and analyzed the thermal stability and fracture surface of the cured adhesive samples. Results showed that by adding 20 wt.% HMP into WF adhesive, the sedimentation volume in the resultant adhesive decreased by 11.3%, indicating that the increase of crosslinking in the structure of the adhesives increased the bond strength, and the wet shear strength of the resultant plywood in 63 °C water improved by 375% when compared with the WF adhesive. After increasing the addition of HMP to 40 wt.%, the wet shear strength of the resultant plywood in 100 °C water changed from 0 MPa to 0.71 MPa, which meets the exterior use plywood requirement. This water resistance and bond strength improvement resulted from (1) HMP reacting with functions in WF and forming a crosslinking structure to prevent moisture intrusion; and (2) HMP self-crosslinking and combining with crosslinked WF to form a microphase separation crosslinking structure, which improved both the crosslinking density and the toughness of the adhesive, and subsequently, the adhesive’s bond performance. In addition, the microphase separation crosslinking structure had better thermostability and created a compact ductile fracture surface, which further improved the bond performance of the adhesive. Thus, using a prepolymer to form a microphase separation crosslinking structure within the adhesive improves the rigidity, toughness, and water resistance of the material in a practical and cost-effective manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Characterization of Bio-Based Polymers)
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