'New tailor-made biopolymers produced from lignocellulosic sugars waste for highly demanding fire-resistant applications'

Hydrolytic degradation of biodegradable polyesters under simulated environmental conditions

In this study, the durability of poly(butylene succinate) (PBS), poly(butylene adipate‐co‐terephthalate) (PBAT), and PBS/PBAT blend was assessed by exposure to 50°C and 90% relative humidity for a duration of up to 30 days. Due to the easy hydrolysis of esters, the mechanical properties of PBS and PBAT were significantly affected with increasing conditioning time. The PBS, PBAT, and PBS/PBAT showed an increase in modulus as well as a decrease in tensile strength and elongation at break with increased exposure time. Furthermore, the impact strength of PBAT remains unaffected up to 30 days of exposure. However, it was clearly observed that the fracture mode of PBS/PBAT changed from ductile to brittle after being exposed to high heat and humid conditions. This may be attributed to the hydrolysis products of PBS accelerating the degradation of PBAT in the PBS/PBAT blend. The differential scanning calorimetry results suggested that the crystallinity of the samples increased after being exposed to elevated temperature and humidity. This phenomenon was attributed to the induced crystallization from low molecular weight polymer chains that occurred during hydrolysis. Therefore, low molecular weight polymer chains are often favored to the crystallinity enhancement. The increase in crystallinity eventually increased the modulus of the conditioned samples. The enhanced crystallinity was further confirmed by polarizing optical microscopy analysis. Moreover, the hydrolysis of the polyesters was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy, rheology, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2015, 132, 42189.

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» Author: Rajendran Muthuraj1,2, Manjusri Misra1,2,* andA.K. Mohanty1,2,*

» Reference: Journal of Applied Polymer ScienceVolume 132, Issue 27, July 15, 2015

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This project has received funding from the European Unionís Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration