Title: Synthesis, characterization and nanocomposite formation of poly(glycerol succinate-co-maleate) with cellulose nanowhiskers Authors
Submitted to: Journal of Polymers and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 17, 2014
Publication Date: March 3, 2014
Citation: Medeiros, E.S., Offeman, R.D., Klamczynski, A., Glenn, G.M., Mattoso, L.H., Orts, W.J. 2014. Synthesis, characterization and nanocomposite formation of poly(glycerol succinate-co-maleate) with cellulose nanowhiskers. Journal of Polymers and the Environment. 22(2):219-226. Interpretive Summary: Glycerol is produced in large quantities as a byproduct of biodiesel production. Polymers based on glycerol are a potential high volume outlet for this inexpensive byproduct. The glycerol-based polyesters have the advantage of being more biodegradable than most petroleum-based polymers, and glycerol is a renewable resource. Cellulose is particularly attractive for use in nanocomposites because of its availability (cellulose is the most abundant biopolymer in nature) and because of its remarkable ability to improve mechanical performance at very low concentrations. In this study, a biodegradable polyester based on glycerol was created and the effects of inclusion of cellulose nanowhiskers on mechanical properties, thermal stability, and biodegradation were studied. Determining the properties of the native polymer and the composites with cellulose nanowhiskers gives us a better understanding of the potential uses for such materials, and aids in development of new markets for byproduct glycerol in producing biodegradable, renewable products.
Technical Abstract: A novel biodegradable polymer based on glycerol, succinic anhydride and maleic anhydride, poly(glycerol succinate-co-maleate), poly(GlySAMA), was synthesized by melt polycondensation and tested as a matrix for composites with cellulose nanowhiskers. This glycerol-based polymer is thermally stable as a consequence of its targeted cross-linked structure. To broaden its range of properties, it was specifically formulated with cellulose nanowhiskers at concentrations of 1, 2 and 4wt% that showed improved mechanical properties. Specifically, the effect of reinforcement on mechanical properties, thermal stability, structure, and biodegradability was evaluated, respectively, by tensile tests and thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and respirometry. The neat poly(GlySAMA) polymer proved flexible, exhibiting an elongation-to-break of 8.8% and the addition of nanowhiskers (at 4 wt%) caused tensile strength and Young’s modulus to increase, respectively, 20 and 40%. Stiffness improved without significantly decreasing thermal stability as measured by thermogravimetric analysis. Biodegradation tests indicated that all samples were degradable but cellulose nanowhiskers reduced the rate of biodegradation.