Volume 1, Issue 2 (September 2023) – 5 articles

Cover Story (View full-size image):
Developing polymer materials from biomass presents a promising solution to address pressing environmental and resource concerns. While a range of biobased general polymer materials have already found success in industrial applications, the quest to unlock highly valuable functional polymers and intelligent materials derived from biomass, such as shape memory polymers (SMPs) and self-healing materials, remains a formidable challenge. This review aims to chart a sustainable course towards the development of SMPs sourced from biobased materials. Extensive research in the realm of SMPs has significantly expanded our understanding of their molecular mechanisms, response to various stimuli, and modes of actuation. As a result, a plethora of intriguing systems have emerged, each holding enormous potential in diverse applications, including actuators, sensors, smart textiles, biomaterials, and space-deploying devices. This review underscores the exciting advancements in the field and paves the way for future innovations in environmentally friendly and resource-efficient polymer materials.  View this manuscript

Article

08 May 2023

A High-efficiency Cathode Using Co3O4 and Carbon Paper by Electrodeposition for Rechargeable Lithium-oxygen Batteries

The conductivity, microstructure, low cost, eco-friendliness, simple and controllable preparation are key points of the preparation and application of cathode materials for lithium-oxygen batteries. Considering the above-mentioned important factors comprehensively, the Co3O4@CP electrode with a three-dimensional structure was prepared by directly growing Co3O4 on the surface of carbon paper (CP) using a simple and controllable electrodeposition method. The obtained Co3O4 depositing layer has a nanosheet microstructure and can provide abundant catalytic active sites for the oxygen evolution and reduction reactions. The network architecture of electronic transmission is constructed by CP in the cathode, promoting the efficiency of the electrode reaction. It’s worth noting that the binder-free and conductive additive-free cathode is beneficial to reduce side reactions. The lithium-oxygen battery assembled with the obtained Co3O4@CP electrode showed satisfactory electrochemical performance. The cell assembled with the obtained Co3O4@CP electrode provided a discharge specific capacity of 10954.7 mA·h·g−1 at a current density of 200 mA·g−1, and the voltage profiles of the cell were good under 100 mA·g−1 at a limited capacity of 500 mA·h g−1 based on the mass of Co3O4. Therefore, the Co3O4@CP composite material is a promising candidate with good application prospects as a cathode material for lithium-oxygen batteries.

Article

01 June 2023

Transparent, Hydrolysable and Flame Retarded Bio-based Epoxy Resins via Catalyst-free Polymerization of Triglycidyl Isocyanurate and Aliphatic Diacids

In this study, transparent and hydrolysable intrinsic flame retarded epoxy resins were synthesized successfully by melting polymerization without any catalyst, simply from bio-based triglycidyl isocyanurate and aliphatic diacids. Due to the possibility of transesterification along with the ring-opening reaction, the most suitable feed ratio of [COOH]/[epoxy] is found to be 60%. By changing the carbon number of diacid from 8 to 12, ER08-60, ER10-60 and ER12-60 were synthesized. The flame retardancy of ER08-60 is found to be excellent, with a UL-94 rating at V-0 and a LOI value at 27.6%. It is revealed from this study that upon heating isocyanurate ring decomposes first and CO2 released prevents the contact of materials with oxygen, thus preventing further combustion. The tensile strength and bending strength of ER08-60 can reach 86.6 MPa and 75.4 MPa, respectively. Additionally, all epoxy resins are able to hydrolyze quickly in both acid and alkaline solutions. It is worth to mention that these epoxy resins are transparent, with a transmittance of around 85%.

Review

24 July 2023

Creating Shape Memory Polymers from Biobased Resources

Developing polymer materials from biomass is a promising pathway to address serious environmental and resource issues. To date, a series of biobased general polymer materials have been successfully industrialized. However, exploring highly valuable functional polymers and intelligent polymer materials from biomass, such as shape memory polymers (SMPs) and self-healing materials, is still a great challenge. The present review intends to bridge a sustainable pathway for the creation of SMPs from biobased resources. Thus, we first recall some backgrounds of the design principle of SMPs and highlight the biobased monomers or building blocks for SMPs, and then we focus on the main varieties of biobased SMPs to clarify their fabricating approaches, functionalizing strategies, new manufacturing methods and the application potential.

Review

15 August 2023

Green Composites Using Naturally Occurring Fibers: A Comprehensive Review

Depletion of non-renewable resources and health hazards of petroleum-based polymers and plastics has enforced the development of eco-friendly materials. The use of conventional plastics has to be minimized and can be replaced with environmentally friendly and sustainable bio-based polymers or biopolymers due to extensive environmental impact. A major share of petroleum-based polymers is used for polymeric composites with research focus on green composites and biocomposites containing renewable/bioderived matrix polymer and fillers from naturally occurring fibers. Biocomposites hold great promise to replace petroleum-based polymer composites owing to their lower cost, non-toxicity, abundance of raw material, renewability, and high specific strength. All these merits of biocomposites have led to an increment in the development of new biocomposites with enhanced properties, wide applicability and ever demanding criteria. The recently published review studies detailed the raw materials used, fabrication techniques, characterization, and applications including biodegradation and rheological studies performed in recent years. This review covers all the important properties of biocomposites along with detailed description of synthesis, properties, characterizations and applicability of these green composites in several areas. The review also focuses on their raw materials, types, recent biocomposites, processing techniques, characterizations, applications, and current challenges with future aspects.

Article

08 September 2023

Synthesis and Characterization of Cyclic Carbonate End-Functional Linear and Star Polyesters via Ring-Opening Polymerization

Well-defined α-(cyclic carbonate), ω-hydroxyl heterotelechelic poly (D,L-lactide)s (PDLLAs) were prepared with good end-group fidelity by ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of D,L-lactide catalyzed by organo catalyst namely, N,N′ dimethyl amino pyridine (DMAP) in conjunction with a renewable, functional bio-based initiator namely glycerol 1,2-carbonate (GC) in bulk at 135 °C with 82% yield. In the case of GC/DMAP catalyzed polymerizations, the HO-PDLLA-COOH series was not observed in MALDI TOF mass analysis unlike as obtained due to transesterification reactions when catalyzed by GC/Sn(Oct)2. Also, cyclic carbonate end-functional 4-arm star poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) was prepared via coupling of GC with (PCL-COOH)4 at room temperature in the presence of N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) and DMAP. Quantitative conversion of hydroxyl functionality in (PCL-OH)4 to carboxylic acid and then to cyclic carbonate functionality was achieved with 90% yield for low molecular weight 4-arm star PCL confirmed by NMR, FT-IR, and MALDI TOF mass spectroscopy.

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