Polymers from Biomass

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2013) | Viewed by 102614

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie und Petrolchemie, Institut für Technische Chemie und Makromolekulare Chemie (ITMC), RWTH Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Interests: molecular catalysis; selective conversion of biogenic platform chemicals; advanced reaction media; green chemistry

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Guest Editor
Lehrstuhl für nanostrukturierte Katalysatoren, Institut für Technische Chemie und Makromolekulare Chemie (ITMC), RWTH Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Interests: environmental catalysis; biomass valorization; heterogeneous catalysis and technical chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Initially, the term ‘Biopolymers’ was used in the last decades to describe bio-degradable polymers mainly derived from fossil resources. In recent years, the meaning of this term shifted to describe biogenic polymers, i.e. materials derived by chemical and biochemical processes from biomass as a renewable resource. This field has grown extraordinarily fast in the last decade, powered by the increasing economic and ecologic evidence for the limitation of fossil resources and the corresponding search for alternative carbon resources. Therefore, creating a scientific and technical basis for a new era of sustainable chemical production and consumers’ behavior beyond the oil age becomes indispensable.

Among the various strategies to obtain polymer building blocks from biomass, the exploration of a pool of novel platform chemicals is particularly attractive. It allows at least in principle to re-design new value chains starting from the desired product properties. The individual transformation steps need to be opened up by means of novel homogeneous, heterogeneous as well as enzyme catalyzed processes and advanced technologies. A great potential for sustainable production processes and products is provided by lignocellulose as one of the most important raw material since waste streams can be utilized and no direct competition to the food chain occurs. Monomers derived thereof can be applied in the production of conventional polymers or used as co-monomers resulting in improved properties. A largely unexplored potential for future polymer production is provided by novel platform chemicals that were not considered as monomers before and their respective novel polymeric compounds.

For a successful future development of this important field that will affect all of our daily lives sooner or later, the cooperation and exchange of knowledge of scientists from various fields such as catalysis, chemical engineering, polymeric chemistry, materials science and many more is mandatory. This special issue “Polymers from Biomass” is intended to contribute to this development by compiling reviews, full papers, and communications from leading experts in academia and industry.

Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner
Prof. Dr. Regina Palkovits
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • biopolymers and biogenic building blocks
  • monomers from biomass
  • renewable resources
  • catalytic conversion
  • lignocellulose
  • platform chemicals

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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740 KiB  
Article
Maintaining Structural Stability of Poly(lactic acid): Effects of Multifunctional Epoxy based Reactive Oligomers
by Sahas R. Rathi, Edward Bryan Coughlin, Shaw Ling Hsu, Charles S. Golub, Gerald H. Ling and Michael J. Tzivanis
Polymers 2014, 6(4), 1232-1250; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6041232 - 22 Apr 2014
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 9204
Abstract
In order to reduce the effects of hydrolytic degradation and to maintain sufficient viscosity during processing of biomass based poly(l-lactic acid) (PLLA), various epoxy functional reactive oligomers have been characterized and incorporated into the degraded fragments as chain extenders. The molecular weight of [...] Read more.
In order to reduce the effects of hydrolytic degradation and to maintain sufficient viscosity during processing of biomass based poly(l-lactic acid) (PLLA), various epoxy functional reactive oligomers have been characterized and incorporated into the degraded fragments as chain extenders. The molecular weight of PLLA increased with the increase in functionality of the reactive oligomers. No further increase in molecular weight was observed for oligomers with functionality of greater than five. Under our experimental conditions, no gelation was found even when the highest functionality reactive oligomers were used. This is attributed to the preferential reaction of the carboxylic acid versus the negligible reactivity of the hydroxyl groups, present at the two ends of the degraded PLLA chains, with the epoxy groups. The study provides a clear understanding of the degradation and chain extension reaction of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) with epoxy functional reactive oligomers. It is also shown that a higher functionality and concentration of the reactive oligomers is needed, to bring about a sufficient increase in the molecular weight and hence the hydrolytic stability in circumstances when PLA chains suffer significant degradation during processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Biomass)
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1021 KiB  
Article
Biobased Contents of Natural Rubber Model Compound and Its Separated Constituents
by Masao Kunioka, Kazuhiro Taguchi, Fumi Ninomiya, Mari Nakajima, Akira Saito and Shunji Araki
Polymers 2014, 6(2), 423-442; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6020423 - 10 Feb 2014
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 11315
Abstract
Production of rubber products with biobased constituents from biomass resources is desirable for conserving our planet’s limited resources and preventing global warming. Herein, a natural rubber model compound was produced to determine the biobased contents as per various indices for calculating the amount [...] Read more.
Production of rubber products with biobased constituents from biomass resources is desirable for conserving our planet’s limited resources and preventing global warming. Herein, a natural rubber model compound was produced to determine the biobased contents as per various indices for calculating the amount of biomass resources used in rubber products. The biobased mass and biobased carbon contents of the natural rubber model compound were 38.7% and 39.2%, respectively, which were calculated from the feed amounts of the constituents as per the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/the draft of International Standard (DIS) 16620-2 and 16620-4. The model compound was separated into its constituents such as polymer, additive, carbon black, and zinc oxide using ISO 1407, 4650, 7720-2, and 9924-3. The biobased carbon content of this model compound was 37.6%, calculated from the percent of modern carbon (pMC), which was measured directly using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The calculated values for this model compound agreed with those calculated from the feed amounts of the constituents. Thus, it was confirmed that these calculation and determination methods of the biobased mass and the biobased carbon contents for rubber products should be published as new ISO international standards after a discussion at technical committee 45, “rubber and rubber products” to evaluate rubber products with larger biobased contents of natural rubber and other biobased ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Biomass)
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164 KiB  
Article
Exergetical Evaluation of Biobased Synthesis Pathways
by Philipp Frenzel, Rafaela Hillerbrand and Andreas Pfennig
Polymers 2014, 6(2), 327-345; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6020327 - 29 Jan 2014
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5970
Abstract
The vast majority of today’s chemical products are based on crude oil. An attractive and sustainable alternative feedstock is biomass. Since crude oil and biomass differ in various properties, new synthesis pathways and processes have to be developed. In order to prioritize limited [...] Read more.
The vast majority of today’s chemical products are based on crude oil. An attractive and sustainable alternative feedstock is biomass. Since crude oil and biomass differ in various properties, new synthesis pathways and processes have to be developed. In order to prioritize limited resources for research and development (R & D), their economic potential must be estimated in the early stages of development. A suitable measure for an estimation of the economic potential is based on exergy balances. Different structures of synthesis pathways characterised by the chemical exergy of the main components are evaluated. Based on a detailed evaluation of the underlying processes, general recommendations for future bio-based synthesis pathways are derived. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Biomass)
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434 KiB  
Article
Esterification of Condensed Tannins and Their Impact on the Properties of Poly(Lactic Acid)
by Warren J. Grigsby, James H. Bridson, Cole Lomas and Jaime-Anne Elliot
Polymers 2013, 5(2), 344-360; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym5020344 - 19 Apr 2013
Cited by 51 | Viewed by 11890
Abstract
Reported is a study evaluating the potential of esterified tannins as plastic additives in poly(lactic acid) (PLA). Tannin esterification using anhydrides was investigated as a route to synthesize tannin esters possessing varying ester chain length and degree of substitution (DS). Esterification decreased the [...] Read more.
Reported is a study evaluating the potential of esterified tannins as plastic additives in poly(lactic acid) (PLA). Tannin esterification using anhydrides was investigated as a route to synthesize tannin esters possessing varying ester chain length and degree of substitution (DS). Esterification decreased the tannin UV absorbance, predominately in the UVB region. However, tannin materials with longer ester chain lengths exhibited melt behaviors suitable for processing in plastics. On compounding into PLA, tannin hexanoate esters lowered the PLA glass transition by 5–6 °C. Shorter chain length tannin esters had a reduced effect on PLA polymer properties. The PLA flexural properties were significantly altered with stiffness decreases of up to 15% depending on ester chain length and loading. Artificial weathering of modified the PLA samples suggests the presence of tannin esters may confer a protection role to PLA on extended exposure. Overall, results suggest scope for the use of tannin esters possessing longer ester chain length as plastic additives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Biomass)
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1526 KiB  
Article
Biodegradable Poly(butylene succinate) Composites Reinforced by Cotton Fiber with Silane Coupling Agent
by Buenaventurada P. Calabia, Fumi Ninomiya, Hisaaki Yagi, Akihiro Oishi, Kazuhiro Taguchi, Masao Kunioka and Masahiro Funabashi
Polymers 2013, 5(1), 128-141; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym5010128 - 29 Jan 2013
Cited by 100 | Viewed by 12765
Abstract
In this study, the use of cotton fiber (CF) as a filler in poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) and the effect of silane treatment on the mechanical properties, thermal stability, and biodegradability of PBS/CF composites are investigated. The results showed that the tensile strength of [...] Read more.
In this study, the use of cotton fiber (CF) as a filler in poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) and the effect of silane treatment on the mechanical properties, thermal stability, and biodegradability of PBS/CF composites are investigated. The results showed that the tensile strength of PBS was improved (15%–78%) with the incorporation of CF (10–40 wt%) and was further increased (25%–118%) when CF was treated with a silane coupling agent. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation of the fracture surfaces of PBS/CF composites showed that there was slight improvement in fiber-matrix compatibility. Thermogravimetric (TG) analysis showed that the thermal stability of the composites was lower than that of neat PBS and decreased with increasing filler loading. The biobased carbon content of the composites increased with increasing CF content. The incorporation of CF (with and without silane treatment) in PBS significantly increased the biodegradation rate of the composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Biomass)
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Review

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1304 KiB  
Review
Start a Research on Biopolymer Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA): A Review
by Giin-Yu Amy Tan, Chia-Lung Chen, Ling Li, Liya Ge, Lin Wang, Indah Mutiara Ningtyas Razaad, Yanhong Li, Lei Zhao, Yu Mo and Jing-Yuan Wang
Polymers 2014, 6(3), 706-754; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6030706 - 12 Mar 2014
Cited by 383 | Viewed by 50264
Abstract
With the impending fossil fuel crisis, the search for and development of alternative chemical/material substitutes is pivotal in reducing mankind’s dependency on fossil resources. One of the potential substitute candidates is polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PHA is a carbon-neutral and valuable polymer that could be [...] Read more.
With the impending fossil fuel crisis, the search for and development of alternative chemical/material substitutes is pivotal in reducing mankind’s dependency on fossil resources. One of the potential substitute candidates is polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PHA is a carbon-neutral and valuable polymer that could be produced from many renewable carbon sources by microorganisms, making it a sustainable and environmental-friendly material. At present, PHA is not cost competitive compared to fossil-derived products. Encouraging and intensifying research work on PHA is anticipated to enhance its economic viability in the future. The development of various biomolecular and chemical techniques for PHA analysis has led to the identification of many PHA-producing microbial strains, some of which are deposited in culture collections. Research work on PHA could be rapidly initiated with these ready-to-use techniques and microbial strains. This review aims to facilitate the start-up of PHA research by providing a summary of commercially available PHA-accumulating microbial cultures, PHA biosynthetic pathways, and methods for PHA detection, extraction and analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers from Biomass)
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