Sustainable thermoplastic elastomers derived from renewable cellulose, rosin and fatty acids
Two series of graft copolymers, cellulose-g-poly(n-butyl acrylate-co-dehydroabietic ethyl methacrylate) (Cell-g-P(BA-co-DAEMA)) and cellulose-g-poly(lauryl methacrylate-co-dehydroabietic ethyl methacrylate) (Cell-g-P(LMA-co-DAEMA)), were prepared by “grafting from” atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). In these novel graft copolymers, cellulose, DAEMA (derived from rosin), and LMA (derived from fatty acids) are all sourced from renewable natural resources. The “grafting from” ATRP strategy allows the preparation of high molecular weight graft copolymers consisting of a cellulose main chain with acrylate copolymer side chains. By manipulating the monomer ratios in the P(BA-co-DAEMA) and P(LMA-co-DAEMA) side chains, graft copolymers with varying glass transition temperatures (−50–60 °C) were obtained. Tensile stress–strain and creep compliance testing were employed to characterize mechanical properties. These novel graft copolymers did not exhibit linear elastic properties above about 1% strain, but they did manifest remarkable elasticity at strains of 500% or more. These results suggest that these cellulose-based, acrylate side-chain polymers are potential candidates for service as thermoplastic elastomers materials in applications requiring high elasticity without rupture at high strains.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Sustainable polymers: replacing polymers derived from fossil fuels