Design of biobased additives for tuning the properties of biopolymers

Sinisi, Alessandro (2020) Design of biobased additives for tuning the properties of biopolymers, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria civile, chimica, ambientale e dei materiali, 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9332.
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This work mainly arises from the necessity to support the rapid introduction of different biobased polymers that the industrial sector has been facing lately. Indeed, while considerable efforts are being made to find environmentally and economically sustainable materials, less attention is paid to their need to be properly compounded to fulfil increasingly rigorous technical and quality requirements. Therefore, there is a strong demand for the development of a novel generation of compatible additives able to improve the properties of biobased polymers while respecting sustainability. With this in mind, a new class of biobased plasticizers is herein proposed. Five different ketal-diesters were selectively synthesized starting from levulinic acid, a promising renewable chemical platform. These molecules were added to poly(vinyl chloride) as model polymer to test their plasticizing effectiveness. Complete morphological, thermal and viscoelastic characterizations showed a clear correlation between the structural features of the ketal-esters and the properties of the material. In addition, no significant leaching was found in both hydrophilic and lipophilic environments. Importantly, the proposed ketal-diesters performed comparably and, in some cases, even better than commercial plasticizers. The same molecules were then added to bacterial poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), a semicrystalline polyester characterized by poor thermal and mechanical properties. Morphology assessments showed no phase separation and the plasticizing effectiveness was confirmed by thermal and viscoelastic analyses, while leaching tests showed low extraction values. Readily usable fractions with controlled structure and tailored properties were obtained from highly heterogeneous industrial grade Kraft lignin. These fractions were then added to poly(vinyl alcohol). Promising preliminary results in terms of compatibility were achieved, with thermograms showing only one glass transition temperature. Finally, a fully biobased glycerol-trilevulinate was successfully synthesized by means of a mild and solvent-free route. Its plasticizing effectiveness was evaluated on poly(vinyl chloride), showing a significant decrease of the glass transition temperature of the material.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Sinisi, Alessandro
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Renewable, Biopolymer, Levulinic acid, Ketal-ester, Plasticizer, Poly(vinylchloride), Polyhydroxyalkanoates, Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), Poly(vinylalcohol), Glass transition temperature, Storage modulus, Biobased, Lignin, Leaching, Phthalate, Glycerol, Crystallinity, Synthesis, Compatibility, Structure-property, Compounding
Data di discussione
24 Marzo 2020

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