Development and Characterization of Renewable Copolymers, Poly(glycerol-fumarate) and Poly(trimethylene-malonate) from by-Products of Biorefineries
Mathew D. Rowe and Keisha B. Walters. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State University, 330 Swalm Chemical Engineering Building, Mississippi State, MS 39762
The goal of the research is the development of renewable copolymers from by-products of bio-refineries. The monomers, glycerol, 1,3-propane diol, malonic acid and fumaric acid, were selected based on availability and polymerization potential. Catalyst selection was based on the criteria of being environmentally benign, readily available, and potentially biocompatible. The catalysts investigated in this study include zinc chloride, aluminum chloride, iron(III) chloride, and tin(II) chloride. The effects of catalyst, monomer ratio, and temperature on copolymer yield and bulk properties were studied for these polycondensation reactions. Polymer synthesis was verified and the chemical composition was characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) determined average molecular weights and molecular weight distributions. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to determine phase transitions in these new copolymers. Copolymers were produced with varying chemical composition, molecular weights, and bulk properties by controlling the monomer ratio.