Submitted to: Journal of Environment and Polymers
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2009
Publication Date: 2/8/2010
Citation: Petrovic, Z.S., Xu, Y., Miliae, J., Klamczynski, A., Glenn, G.M. 2010. Biodegradation Of thermoplastic polyurethanes from vegetable oils. Journal of Environment and Polymers. 18(2):94-97. Interpretive Summary: Poyurethanes are petroleum based compounds that are used extensively in packaging and insulation applications. Polyurethanes compounds can also be made from agricultural feedstocks and may be better for the environment. Scientists at Pittsburg State University in cooperation with scientists in Albany, Ca showed that thermoplastic polyurethanes from vegetable oils biodegraded at a higher rate than petroleum-based polurethanes. These findings will help in the development of bioproducts as replacements for petroleum-based products.
Technical Abstract: Thermoplastic urethanes based on polyricinoleic acid soft segments and MDI/BD hard segments with varied soft segment concentration were prepared. Soft segment concentration was varied fro, 40 to 70 wt %. Biodegradation was studied by respirometry. Segmented polyurethanes with soft segments based on polyricinoleic acid degrade relatively slow losing about 11% carbon after 30 days, but faster than corresponding petrochemical polyesterurethanes. Since biodegradation proceeds mainly through the soft segments, higher soft segment content polymers displayed slightly higher biodegradation. Polyurethanes with dispersed hard domains in the soft phase displayed slightly faster biodegradation than those with co-continuous morphology. Polyester diol degrades slower than castor oil but significantly faster than the polyurethanes with built in soft segments from the same diol. Castor oil biodegrades slower than soybean oil.