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Furfuryl Alcohol and Lactic Acid Blends: Homo- or Co-Polymerization?

Sciprofile linkLukas Sommerauer, Sciprofile linkJakub Grzybek, Sciprofile linkMichael S. Elsaesser, Sciprofile linkArtur Benisek, Sciprofile linkThomas Sepperer, Sciprofile linkEdgar Dachs, Sciprofile linkNicola Huesing, Sciprofile linkAlexander Petutschnigg, Sciprofile linkGianluca Tondi
Published: 20 September 2019
 by  MDPI
Polymers , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/polym11101533

Abstract: Furfuryl alcohol (FA) and lactic acid (LA) are two of the most interesting biomolecules, easily obtainable from sugars and hence extremely attractive for green chemistry solutions. These substances undergo homopolymerization and they have been rarely considered for copolymerization. Typically, FA homopolymerizes exothermically in an acid environment producing inhomogeneous porous materials, but recent studies have shown that this reaction can be controlled and therefore we have implemented this process to trigger the copolymerization with LA. The mechanical tests have shown that the blend containing small amount of FA were rigid and the fracture showed patterns more similar to the one of neat polyfurfuryl alcohol (PFA). This LA-rich blend exhibited higher chloroform and water resistances, while thermal analyses (TG and DSC) also indicated a higher furanic character than expected. These observations suggested an intimate interconnection between precursors which was highlighted by the presence of a small band in the ester region of the solid state 13C–NMR, even if the FT-IR did not evidence any new signal. These studies show that these bioplastics are basically constituted of PLA and PFA homopolymers with some small portion of covalent bonds between the two moieties.
Keywords: biopolymers / Bio-based Materials / Bio-resources / Carbohydrate Derivatives / Green Resins / sustainable macromolecules

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