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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303646

Title: Production of low-cost polyesters by microwaving heating of carboxylic acids and polyol blends

item Tisserat, Brent
item Liu, Zengshe - Kevin

Submitted to: Royal Society of Chemistry Meetings
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2014
Publication Date: 11/3/2014
Citation: Tisserat, B., Liu, Z. 2014. Production of low-cost polyesters by microwaving heating of carboxylic acids and polyol blends. In: Liu, Z., Kraus, G., editors. Green Materials from Plant Oils. Cambridge, England: Royal Society of Chemistry. p. 147-162.

Interpretive Summary: Of the 260 million tons of plastics are manufactured per year, less than 1% is considered bio-plastics. There is a great market to replace current plastics with inexpensive biodegradable products. This study examined the use of a biogradable and temporary polyester manufactured from low-cost feedstocks of glycerol and citric acid. This polyester costs about $0.35 a pound to produce and compares favorably with any petrochemical or bioplastic currently on the market. The mechanical properties of this citrate glyceride blends is examined. This polyester blend could be employed numerous applications.

Technical Abstract: Numerous issues such as price uncertainty, manufacturing costs, environmental disposal, and geo-political issues affect the petroleum-based polymer industry. As an alternative, increasing interest in the development of biodegradable non-petroleum-based polymers has risen steadily since the 1980s. However, the price of the traditionally-used non-petroleum based polymers (e.g., poly(lactic acid), PLA) is higher and not competitive with petroleum-based polymers (e.g., polyethylene terephthalate, PET). Therefore, the development of even lower cost non-petroleum-based polymers is needed. One consideration is to prepare copolyesters using polyfunctional acids and alcohols such as citric acid and glycerol, respectively. Normally, citric acid and glycerol are considered plasticizers and are employed to increase the fluidity of the material to which they are added (e.g., plastics, concrete, wallboard, and clay). Heating to achieve citric acid-glycerol copolyester polymerization is necessary followed by a curing heating process to achieve final solidification. Of interest in this study is use of microwave heating which offers a useful tool to rapidly prepare samples to examine the mechanical properties of these polyesters.