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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #212990

Title: Thermal and physical characterization of glycerol polyesters

item Holser, Ronald
item Willett, Julious
item Vaughn, Steven

Submitted to: Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2007
Publication Date: 1/10/2008
Citation: Holser, R.A., Willett, J.L., Vaughn, S.F. 2008. Thermal and physical characterization of glycerol polyesters. Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy. 2(1):1-3.

Interpretive Summary: Biobased polymers were made by heating glycerol with other agricultural by-products to form flexible materials that are designed to prevent weeds from growing around cultivated crops and to slowly release fertilizers or pesticides. The polymers were prepared in a single step without the addition of catalysts or organic solvents and are expected to degrade after one season. These polymers are inexpensive to prepare and return organic material to the soil as they degrade. They could replace petrochemical polymers such as polyethylene or polypropylene in agricultural or environmental applications.

Technical Abstract: Glycerol polyesters were prepared by the condensation of glycerol and adipic acid, azelaic acid, sebacic acid, or suberic acids. After 48 hours at 125 deg C the polymers were clear and flexible. Samples of the reaction mixtures were analyzed by modulated differential scanning calorimetry to identify reversible and irreversible heat flows that were associated with physical and chemical reaction processes, respectively. These biobased polymers are intended to perform as physical barriers to prevent weed growth and provide a matrix to release nutrients and other bioactive compounds.